Huge increase in breast cancer rate
MARC MCLEAN Women across Dumfries and Galloway have been urged to seek health screening after breast cancer rates rocketed by more than a quarter.
A shock new report shows that 164 women were given treatment by NHS Dumfries and Galloway in 2017 after being diagnosed with the disease.
The previous year the number of breast cancer patients was 127 – which equates to a year-onyear increase of 29 per cent.
And while lung cancer has affected more people in Scotland than any other type of cancer for the past 25 years, rates of breast cancer are now higher in Dumfries and Galloway.
With breast cancer numbers steadily climbing in the region and nationally leading charities have issued important safety advice.
Ashleigh Simpson, policy and campaigns manager, Breast Cancer Care and Breast Cancer Now, said: “Breast cancer remains the most common cancer among Scottish women, and with incidence continuing to rise we need to find ways to prevent more cases, detect the disease earlier and treat it more effectively at every stage.
“The number of people diagnosed with breast cancer has increased significantly over the last two decades, and we need to do all we can to ensure all women have access to the long-term care and support services they need.
“The earlier the disease is detected, the more likely treatment is to be successful.
“It is clear that the NHS Breast Screening Programme remains absolutely critical to early diagnosis in Scotland.
“While screening comes with some risks to be aware of, we’d encourage all women to attend their appointments when invited.
“It’s also vital that all women check their breasts regularly and visit their GP if they notice any unusual changes.”
The cancer figures were released by ISD (Information Services Division) Scotland, which provides statistics and health intelligence to the NHS.
A total of 983 cancer diagnoses were made in the Dumfries and Galloway area in 2017, which was down 21 on the previous year.
Of the 39 different types of cancer listed, the 10 most common in 2017 were: breast, 164; lung, 151; colorectal, 120; prostate, 100; Non-Hodgkin lymphoma, 40; head and neck, 36; kidney, 31; liver, 30; skin (malignant melanoma), 29, and ovary, 29.
Gordon Matheson, of Cancer Research UK, said: “While there are many reasons why we’re seeing more people develop cancer, including an ageing population, there’s much that people can do to stack the odds in their favour.
“Smoking remains the number one preventable cause of cancer, followed by carrying too much weight which is linked to 13 types of the disease.”
He added: “Almost a third of calories in Scotland are purchased via multibuy offers such as three for two on mega-sized chocolate bars or fizzy drinks.
“In the fight against cancer, it’s crucial the Scottish Government commits to new laws to restrict supermarket price promotions on junk food as soon as possible.
“Taking action on obesity like this will make it easier for people to do a healthier shop and help turn the tide on obesity.”
In 2017, approximately 32,200 people were diagnosed with cancer in Scotland – 16,400 females and around 15,900 males.
Over the last decade the number of cases has increased by around 3,300.
Cancer Research UK expects that the number of people diagnosed with cancer will continue to rise.