Scotland must prepare for huge increase in cancer sufferers

Cancer support web

The amount of people living with cancer in Scotland is set to rise to 360,000 by 2030

4th December 2017 by Gareth Jones 0 Comments

Health and social care chiefs have been urged to transform the cancer care system to cope with a dramatic increase in the number of Scots living with a diagnosis.

Macmillan Cancer Support made the call for major reform at a roundtable event at Holyrood last week.

MSPs and senior figures from health and social care met, alongside charities, to discuss how the country can support people living with cancer.

The focus was on the Transforming Care After Treatment (TCAT) programme, a partnership between Macmillan, the Scottish Government, the NHS and local authorities.

The programme attempts to bring health, social care and charities together to change the cancer care system, and aims to test and spread new processes and tools to improve cancer care via 25 small scale projects across the country.

Macmillan, who funds the programme, says good progress has been made, but much remains to be done if Scotland is to be ready to support the estimated 360,000 people who will be living with cancer in 2030, an increase from 220,000 in 2015.

The charity's head in Scotland, Janice Preston said: “We know from research that too many people don’t get the help they need to cope after a cancer diagnosis.

“As the number of people living with a cancer diagnosis increases, this is only going to become more of an issue, unless the system changes.

“The good news is that the TCAT programme is demonstrating that there is a better way.”

Marion Macdonald, 58, from Glasgow benefited from a TCAT project at Stobhill Hospital after treatment for breast cancer.

The former nurse said: “My experience of TCAT has been excellent. The project I was involved in gave me more control over my care after treatment.

“I wasn’t told I had to see a consultant at a set time chosen by the hospital, which was how it used to work.

“Instead I had an appointment with a nurse to talk about all my support needs.

“When I did have concerns about the cancer returning I called up the nurse and was offered an appointment with a consultant on the same day.”

The initiative has seen 25 different projects piloted across the country, with the schemes being evaluated for the support they provide.