Cancer: now Scots’ most common life-changing event

Mette 3

Mette Baillie 

​Report shows how the disease has become commonplace in everyday life 

10th July 2017 by Robert Armour 0 Comments

There are more new cases of cancer each year than marriages or births in Scotland, according to research by Macmillan Cancer Support.

A report by the charity reveals being diagnosed with cancer is now one of the most common life-changing events in people’s lives.

Macmillan’s research shows that while receiving a cancer diagnosis is an increasingly common life event, it is the disease or condition people in Scotland most fear getting, ahead of Alzheimer’s, stroke, heart disease, multiple sclerosis, diabetes or depression.

For one in eight people in Scotland (13%), cancer is their biggest fear of all, ahead of losing a loved one, their own death or even terrorism.

Macmillan has released the report to coincide with the launch of its new advertising campaign, Life with cancer, which the charity hopes will remove some of the fear around diagnosis and highlight the support available. 

The campaign reflects the insight that 85% of people with cancer in the UK don’t want to be defined by the disease.

Macmillan’s research also shows that nine in 10 (91%) people living with cancer in Scotland say they are still living their lives as normally as they can.

Trisha Hatt, Macmillan’s Strategic Partnership Manager in Scotland, said: “This research highlights that for many people, cancer will be a fact of life.

“Survival rates from the illness are increasing, and even those with incurable cancer often live for many years.

“This report is about highlighting what life with cancer really looks like for a lot of people – looking after their children, seeing friends and even going to work.

“Most people say they want to keep life as normal as possible after treatment. That's why it's vital they get the support they need to deal with the emotional, practical and financial problems cancer can cause.”

This research highlights that for many people, cancer will be a fact of life - Trisha Hatt

Mette Baillie who is originally from Denmark but has lived in Edinburgh since 1991, was diagnosed with breast cancer in May last year.

The 46-year-old wedding dress designer said: “I was really shocked. I didn’t quite know how to handle it.

“My sister died of colon cancer 14 years ago and when you have had an experience like that it flavours what you think about cancer.

“Being diagnosed with cancer affects all aspects of your life. I run my own business and have worked many years to get it to the level it is today. The fact of just leaving it was really upsetting.

“I decided that I would work as much as I could and not really tell anyone I had cancer. I felt there was a huge stigma to it and I didn’t want people to say: ‘You can’t work, you have to stay at home’. I wanted to make that decision myself.

“I had huge support from the people I work with and it felt really good I could carry on with some sort of normality in my life.

“It feels nice now I’m on the other side – every day I have more energy and it just feels amazing.”