14 June 2013
With new figures released last week predicting that by 2020 almost half the population will get cancer in their lifetime, a leading cancer charity is investing £5m in a ground-breaking project to transform cancer care in Scotland.
Macmillan Cancer Support will work with the Scottish Government, the NHS and local authorities to improve care after treatment for the 30,000 people diagnosed with cancer each year in Scotland.
The charity says the change is vital to create a system that is responsive to the growing numbers of people living with cancer – currently 190,000 but expected to almost double by 2030.
Macmillan’s director in Scotland Elspeth Atkinson said: 'It’s good news that, thanks to better treatments and earlier diagnosis, more people are surviving cancer. However the impact of the illness does not suddenly stop when treatment is over.
'Cancer treatment continues to improve enormously and we now also need to look at how we help people to recover after treatment ends.'
Macmillan wants every patient to receive care and support based on an assessment of their individual needs, including their emotional and financial wellbeing.
The aim is to ensure every patient gets the right support when they need it, whilst also reducing the number of unnecessary and often stressful outpatient appointments.
Elspeth added: 'Currently too many people can feel abandoned when treatment ends and don’t know where to go for support when they need it.
'This often results in them waiting until their routine hospital appointment – which may be months away – to ask for help or discuss their worries.
'These appointments are in many cases medically unnecessary and are often not the best place for patients to get the support they vitally need.
'Our £5m investment is considerably more than Macmillan has ever invested in a single project in Scotland, which reflects just how important we think it is to put as much effort into supporting people to live with or beyond a cancer diagnosis as into treating the disease itself.'
Health Secretary Alex Neil said:
'We know that lives can be saved through early detection of cancer, as the earlier a cancer is diagnosed the greater the chance it can be treated successfully.
'More people are living longer with and after cancer and we need to make sure that those people are prepared for, and supported to live with, the diagnosis and its treatment.
'The Scottish Government is already committed to high quality cancer services and working closely with third sector organisations. This extra funding from Macmillan Cancer Support will help us find the best way to provide that additional support.'
Case studies and spokespeople are available for interview.
For further information please contact
Kate Seymour, Macmillan Cancer Support, 07801 307032 / 0131 260 3720
Notes to Editors
Transforming Care After Treatment
Transforming Care After Treatment is a major component on the Scottish Cancer Taskforce workplan. It is a partnership between the Scottish Government, Macmillan Cancer Support, NHS Scotland, the regional cancer networks, ADSW, COSLA, local authorities and the voluntary sector.
It will be launched by the Health Secretary at an event for key stakeholders on Thursday 13 June in Edinburgh.
Macmillan Cancer Support
More than one in three of us will get cancer. For most of us it will be the toughest fight we ever face. And the feelings of isolation and loneliness that so many people experience make it even harder.
But you don’t have to go through it alone. The Macmillan team is with you every step of the way.
We are the nurses and therapists helping you through treatment. The experts on the end of the phone. The advisers telling you which benefits you’re entitled to. The volunteers giving you a hand with the everyday things. The campaigners improving cancer care. The community there for you online, any time. The supporters who make it all possible.
Together, we are all Macmillan Cancer Support.