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GP referrals boost early cancer diagnosis



GP referrals have helped boost the number of people receiving an early diagnosis of cancer in Scotland by 6.5% over three years, figures show.

According to Information Services Division statistics, stage one diagnosis rates of breast, lung and colorectal cancers was up 6.5% when comparing the combined two-year period of 2013 and 2014 with the combined periods of 2010 and 2011.

Part of the improvement is because of the reduction in the proportion of cases for which stage is ‘not known’.

The Scottish Government says that the success is down to its Detect Cancer Early programme, launched in 2012.

A target of the programme was to ‘promote referral or investigation’ by GPs ‘at the earliest reasonable opportunity’. Another target was to ‘improve informed consent and participation in national cancer screening programmes’.

Health secretary Shona Robison said: ‘It’s very encouraging to see that an increasing proportion of cancer patients are getting the early diagnoses that we know are so crucial. I would continue to urge people to take every screening opportunity available, and to report any worrying symptoms to their GP as soon as they can.’