New figures released today by NHS Scotland show that the number of early cancer detections in the NHS Highland area are falling.
The numbers, which were published by the NHS statistics service ISD Scotland, show that in 2015-16, the percentage of patients diagnosed at Stage 1 for breast, colorectal and lung cancers sat at 24.7%.
In 2016-17, the percentage fell to 24.3%, which represents 50 fewer diagnoses at Stage 1 compared to the previous year.
The figures also show a fall in the percentage of patients diagnosed at Stage 2, while the percentage diagnosed at the final Stage 4 of cancer rose from 24.7% to 25.3%.
In 2012, the SNP Government pledged to increase the proportion of people diagnosed with early stage cancer by 25 percent within three years – with specific focus on breast, colorectal and lung cancers.
But the nationwide figures released today shows that those with breast, colorectal or lung cancer, only 25.3 percent were diagnosed at the earliest stage, an increase of only 8.4 percent.
These figures are down from 9.1 percent last year, and well behind the promised 25 percent increase.
Highlands and Islands MSP Donald Cameron said:
“These figures are deeply concerning, and are yet another example of the need for a new direction from the SNP Government in how they manage the Scottish NHS.
People across the Highlands will rightly be worried by this trend, particularly in light of the fact that the SNP Government are well behind on their target to increase the proportion of people diagnosed with early stage cancer by 25 percent within three years.
The new Health Secretary needs to make this a top priority”.