Risk of liver, thyroid and skin cancer has risen in past decade in Scotland

The risk of developing liver thyroid and thyroid cancers as well as skin melanoma has risen in the past decade in Scotland, while social and economic deprivation continues to have a major influence on cancer risk.

New figures from the Scottish Cancer Registry published by Public Health Scotland also show the risk of developing bowel, stomach and oesophagus cancers and leukaemia has continued to fall.

The figures cover the period to December 2019 and are not affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.

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The number of cancer patients has risen by 11 per cent in the past decade, but this reflects the ageing population rather than higher risk overall.

Picture: PA Media

The risk of cancer in men has fallen by 5 per cent, while it has remained the same in women.

Lung cancer is the most common cancer overall in Scotland, with more than 5,500 incidences, but breast cancer is the most common in women, and prostate cancer the most common in men.

Cancer rates remain higher in areas of more social and economic deprivation. Lung cancer is three times more common in the most deprived areas than the least deprived, and cervical cancers are also more common in those areas.

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However, breast and prostate cancers are more common in wealthier areas.

Professor David Morrison, director of the Scottish Cancer Registry at Public Health Scotland, said the new figures showed “encouraging” signs of reducing risk.

“Our latest findings from the Scottish Cancer Registry are encouraging evidence that when the prevalence of risk factors – such as smoking – have reduced, many cases of cancer are prevented,” he said.

“However, they also demonstrate that we have further work to do to reduce the risks associated with other modifiable factors, including obesity, alcohol consumption and sunburn. Together with partners from across the NHS, local and national government and the third sector, we will work to improve patient outcomes and address the inequalities we see.

“For those people who develop cancer, the earlier it is diagnosed, the better your chances of successful treatment.

"I would encourage anyone who is offered screening to go for it. If you’re worried you might have cancer, see your GP – don’t put it off.”

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