By Bill Heaney

Scottish Labour has warned Scotland is facing a cancer catastrophe, after new figures show early detection rates falling.

New figures covering 2019 and 2020 show that over these two years just 24.1 per cent of cancer patients were diagnosed in Stage One – falling well short of the target of 29.2 per cent.

This is worst performance against this target since it was introduced in 2011-12.

Also of concern, the proportion of patients diagnosed at Stage Four had increased – 26.4 per cent of patients in 2019 and 2020 compared to 25.4 per cent in 2018 and 2019 and 25.1 per cent at the baseline.

This comes as Health Boards are forced to cancel cancer operations due to the growing crisis facing services.

Scottish Labour have warned this could be the “tip of the iceberg”, calling on the SNP to implement a real catch-up plan.

Scottish Labour’s Health and Covid Recovery spokesperson Jackie Baillie, pictured right,  said: “These stark figures lay bare the looming cancer catastrophe facing Scotland.

“Early diagnosis can be the difference between life and death – but things are the worst they’ve been in years.  The real concern is that we are just seeing the tip of the iceberg here.

“Right now we should be pulling out every stop to get back on track – but instead health boards are being forced to cancel cancer operations.

“The SNP are playing fast and loose with people’s lives.

“They need to stop wasting time and act now to put in place the cancer catch-up plan we have needed for months.”

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