By Lucy Ashton
Scottish Labour health spokesperson Jackie Baillie has today warned of a cancer care crisis and demanded urgent action to tackle the backlog of cancer care.
Baillie’s warning comes as new statistics show that cancer incidence was on the rise even before then pandemic began.
The statistics reveal that cancer incidence rose by 11 per cent between 2010 and 2019, to an overall yearly total of 34,100 by 2019.
Public Health Scotland analysis has already suggested that by the end of November 2020 there had been 7,000 fewer diagnosed cancers compared to 2019. These statistics published today reveal the trends before the pandemic and will set the benchmark for measuring the scale of the catch up required in cancer care following Covid-19.
For example, the data shows that in 2019 breast cancer and bowel cancer were among the most common cancers diagnosed.
But the suspension of cancer screening programmes during the pandemic has raised concerns that early diagnosis of these cancers will have been hindered in 2020.
Baillie has warned that there is a ‘race against time’ to ensure people get the care that they need.
Tackling the cancer care crisis was central to Scottish Labour’s NHS recovery plan, and Labour will continue to fight for the resources and attention needed to address the backlog in cancer care.
Scottish Labour deputy leader and health spokesperson Jackie Baillie said: “We are facing a cancer care crisis due to the pandemic and with incidence on the rise, thousands of Scots are now in a race against time to get treatment.
“It is the duty of the Scottish Government to pull out all the stops to ensure that people get the treatment that they need.
“Anything short of immediate and proportionate action to tackle the cancer care crisis is playing fast and loose with the lives of Scots.
“We need to see diagnostics and screening efforts ramped up immediately.
“Fixing cancer care remains a national mission for Labour and we will continue to hold the government to account on this most vital issue.”