Scottish cancer deaths fall by a fifth in 20 years

The cancer death rate in Scotland has dropped by nearly a fifth in just over twenty years. Picture: Complimentary
The cancer death rate in Scotland has dropped by nearly a fifth in just over twenty years. Picture: Complimentary
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CANCER death rates in Scotland dropped by almost a fifth in just over two decades, according to new analysis.

The number of people in every 100,000 who died from cancer fell to 196 in 2011, figures from Cancer Research UK show.

That is an 18% decrease from the proportion in 1990, despite an ageing population meaning more people are being diagnosed with the disease.

Over the same period, the cancer mortality rates for men and women fell by 23% and 15% respectively.

A 39% drop in the death rate for men diagnosed with lung cancer is particularly striking, the charity said.

It has launched a new campaign to raise funds and awareness for research into the disease, which it says holds the key to cutting mortality rates further.

Linda Summerhayes, the charity’s Scotland spokeswoman, said: “Today cancer can be beaten and as these new figures show, mortality rates from this much feared disease are dropping significantly as the fruits of research are producing more effective treatments with fewer side effects.

“But while we’re heading in the right direction, too many lives are still being lost to the disease, highlighting how much more work there is to do. Our aim is that one day everyone will beat cancer and the more research we can fund, the sooner that day will come.

‘That’s why we’re calling on people across Scotland to back our new campaign and help us bring forward the day when all cancers are cured.

It’s not just technology or knowledge that we need to win our fight against cancer - it’s funding.”

The fall in death rates was welcomed by Fiona Berry, 49, from Paisley, who survived breast cancer after being diagnosed in 2009.

The mother-of-one said: “It’s fantastic news to hear that more people than ever are surviving cancer and it’s not the death sentence it once was.

“Of course, we still lose people to this dreadful disease so there is still more work to be done in finding a better treatments and even a cure, however it’s heartening to see that progress is being made.

“I know I wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for the hard work of scientists, doctors and nurses and all that is already known about breast cancer.”