Beating Cancer: Ambition and Action (2016) update: achievements, new action and testing change

An update to our 2016 cancer strategy - Beating Cancer: Ambition and Action.

Action and achievements to date

Our £100million cancer strategy launched in March 2016 with 54 actions across a wide range of areas. Significant progress has been made across the vast majority of these actions, as well as significant additional successes since then which have further bolstered our efforts to improvement outcomes and experience for people with cancer in Scotland.

Key successes and impacts to date include:

  • The age-adjusted cancer mortality rate for all cancers combined has decreased by 10% over the 10 year period of 2009-2018.
  • Amongst Scotland's cancer patients, 95% rating their overall experience of cancer care positively.
  • Scotland has led the way internationally in a range of radical public health measures, such as banning the use of sunbeds by under-18s, prohibiting smoking in public places, and minimum unit pricing for alcohol.
  • Continuing these efforts, we have been preparing a world leading Bill to restrict the promotion and marketing of targeted food and drink high in fat, sugar or salt, which we will bring to Parliament this year.
  • In 2018 the Scottish Government published strategies and action plans on all of the greatest cancer risk factors: smoking, diet and healthy weight, physical activity and alcohol.
  • Working with Teenage Cancer Trust, we have supported an education programme that has reached over 80% of secondary schools with early detection and prevention messages.
  • Cancer referral guidelines for GPs have been comprehensively updated to ensure they are equipped with the best information and support to improve early detection of cancer.
  • Evidence is showing the HPV vaccine is driving significant reductions in cervical pre-cancers detected.
  • Scotland was the first nation in the UK to introduce the new faecal immunochemical test (FIT) test to the bowel screening programme. Already this has resulted in an increased uptake in the programme, particularly in the most deprived areas, and the number of cancers and pre-cancers detected.
  • To further tackle screening inequalities, we have invested in 29 different projects to challenge inequalities around access to cancer screening programmes in hard to reach and vulnerable communities. For example, Jo's Cervical Cancer Trust is exploring work to improve screening coverage for the over 50s through one of its three grants from the fund.
  • Change recommendations of the Clinical Review of Cancer Waiting Times in Scotland are all on track with four already complete.
  • A new "your urgent referral explained" leaflet is available for all patients with an urgent referral with suspicion of cancer have the same clear and high quality information, so they can be fully informed and understanding of their journey.
  • Since 2006 there has been an 80.4% increase in consultant oncologists and a 48.7% increase in consultant radiologists.
  • Modern Digital mammography technology is now in place across all Scotland's breast screening centres, meaning superior quality imaging can further enhance our ability to detect cancers early.
  • We have launched a new Scottish Cancer Registry and Intelligence Service. This will quickly identify variation in practice, allow clinicians to benchmark with peers and for the first time offer near real-time data to drive improvement.
  • Through the Detect Cancer Early (DCE) Programme and a wide range of associated actions to improve early stage detection we have driven a 11.8% increase in the most deprived areas of early stage detection of three of the biggest cancers.
  • For lung cancer, we have helped drive a 38.1% increase in stage one diagnosis in the most deprived areas of Scotland since DCE began.
  • Overall, since the start of DCE programme over 1,000 more people in Scotland have had their cancer diagnosed at an early stage.
  • Since 2016, the acceptance rate for all ultra-orphan, orphan and end of life medicines has risen to 78% from 48%, for orphan and cancer medicines between 2011 and 2013.
  • Through significant investments in radiotherapy equipment and workforce, Scotland is leading the UK with all its cancer centres now routinely delivering modern radiotherapy to their patients.
  • Robot assisted prostate cancer surgery is now available for men in each of Scotland's cancer networks so they can benefit from the most advanced surgical techniques.
  • We have invested in the Cancer Medicines Outcomes Programme (CMOP). The work of CMOP represents an important step forward in Scotland's use of real world evidence to improve clinical care and drive value through access to new treatments, ensuring patients can have more certainty about how their treatments may work for them.
  • Glasgow's Precision Oncology Laboratory has developed an internationally-recognised new cancer testing approach for research and clinical trials to enable patients to benefit from precision medicine-based cancer treatments.
  • It has also been recognised as a centre of excellence for DNA sequencing.
  • In pancreatic cancer, research will be vital to progress and that's why the Scottish Government seed funded the PrecisionPanc project, leading to a large follow-on investment from Cancer Research UK.
  • Cancer Research Network is supporting clinical trials that are testing innovative new treatments, including practice-changing research such as the use of immunotherapy instead of standard chemotherapy as first line treatment in lung cancer.
  • Experimental Cancer Medicine Centres (ECMC), co-funded by Scottish Government with Cancer Research UK, offer patients early phase trials aimed at discovering and developing new approaches to cancer medicine.
  • Through the £1m Cancer Innovation Challenge funded by the Scottish Funding Council and involving the Scottish Government funded Innovative Healthcare Delivery Programme (IHDP), two viable tools have been produced to collect Patient Reported Outcome Measures and Patient Reported Experience Measures data.
  • IHDP has nurtured a total of 13 innovation projects to increase the use of innovative technology and routine NHS cancer data to improve Scotland's cancer outcomes.
  • This data, from the Cancer Patient Experience Survey conducted alongside Macmillan Cancer Support, has harnessed patient experience data to drive improvements focussed on what matters to them.
  • Thanks to our pioneering partnership with Macmillan Cancer Support, we have begun work for Scotland which will lead the UK in providing access to a key support worker for all people with cancer.



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