5 minutes Adam Gaines

Statement from Prostate Scotland on the publication of the Scottish Government’s Cancer Strategy 2023-2033

Prostate Scotland Statement                  15 June 2023
‘We welcome the publication of the Scottish Government’s 10-year Cancer Strategy. This is much needed, as there is a need to help increase earlier diagnosis, reduce waiting times and increase the number of clinicians treating cancer.  In particular, we very much welcome the emphasis in the strategy on reducing the number of people with later stage cancer and on earlier diagnosis and on greater survival. We look forward to the Cancer Strategy being a catalyst for sustained improvement in diagnosis, support and survival.

For men with prostate cancer, which is the most common cancer in men in Scotland, there is a particular need over the coming decade to have a focus on early diagnosis and greater awareness in order to increase awareness of symptoms and risk factors. This is particularly important in view of the impact of the pandemic which led to a fall in the number of men being diagnosed with prostate cancer[i], but at the same time there is a projected increase in the likely number of men with prostate cancer over the coming years.

We very much welcome the emphasis on earlier diagnosis in the strategy and also the aim to increase the number of Urology Diagnostic Hubs.  We were, however, surprised that despite the fact that prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men in Scotland, the Action Plan for the strategy for the next three years unfortunately does not include prostate cancer as one of the focused tumour types to be particularly promoted for earlier diagnosis. We hope that prostate cancer will be a focus of the next action plan.

We have seen welcome progress over the past decade in term of the number of people surviving prostate cancer and we hope that this can be further improved over the next 10 years.  In addition, it will be important to ensure that further efforts are made to reach to men in the most deprived areas as research[ii] has shown that amongst men with prostate cancer from the most deprived social groups there is a 10% lower survival rate from prostate cancer than for men from the least deprived social group. We are encouraged that it is intended to have targeted Detect Cancer Earlier (DCE) campaigns aimed at those from areas of deprivation.

We also welcome the emphasis in the strategy on outcomes, in making cancer services accessible and on reducing inequalities. We look forward to working with the Scottish Government, men with prostate cancer and with clinicians in helping improve early diagnosis, support and outcomes for men living with prostate cancer and their families’.

Notes for Editors
Prostate cancer is the most common cancer amongst men in Scotland, with a lifetime chance of one in ten men developing it[[iii]]. There were over 37,009 new registrations of men with prostate cancer between 2008 and 2018 and 9,782 deaths of men in Scotland from prostate cancer during that period.[iv]. The most recent figures for Scotland prior to the pandemic show that 4066 men in Scotland were diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2019 and in 2020 3394 were diagnosed. 1066 men died from prostate cancer in 2021 [[v]]. Survival rates amongst men with prostate cancer have encouragingly doubled over the past two decades with 84% of men with prostate cancer now surviving it[[vi]]. Projections by the NHS show that the diagnosis of men with prostate cancer is likely to rise by up to 35% over the decade to 2027[[vii]].
Prostate Scotland is a registered Scottish charity no SC037494. It was set up in 2006 as a Scottish charity to develop awareness of prostate disease, to support men and their families/ partners with the disease through providing advice and information and to advance treatment and research into prostate disease. Its aim is to reach out across Scotland to create greater awareness amongst men and their families/partners about prostate disease and to advance treatment. It has established an award-winning website www.prostatescotland.org.uk providing a wide range of information about prostate disease and treatments, as well as providing information and advice about prostate disease to men and their families across Scotland. In 2010 the charity won a national award for its impact on community health and in 2013 and 2015 was commended in the British Medical Association Patient information Awards, and in 2017 was awarded Scottish health charity of the year.
[i]   According to Public Health Scotland  the number of men diagnosed with prostate cancer  figures fell by 10%  during the pandemic(see https://www.publichealthscotland.scot/publications/cancer-incidence-in-scotland/cancer-incidence-in-scotland-to-december-2020/
[ii] by NHS Scotland/ISD and Macmillan Cancer Support https://www.macmillan.org.uk/_images/Prostate-Cancer-Survival-and-Deprivation-Brief-Scotland_tcm9-308835.pdf).
[iii] See Cancer Incidence in Scotland 2018 Public Health Scotland April 2020 pp21
[iv] See Cancer Incidence in Scotland 2018 Public Health Scotland April 2020, Cancer mortality in Scotland 2018 Public Health Scotland October 2019
[v] See Cancer in Scotland Public Health Scotland April 2020 and Scottish cancer registry Cancer mortality in Scotland 2018 Public Health Scotland October 2019 p8 and ISD Cancer in Scotland April 2019 Information Services Division, NHS National Services Scotland and PHS Scotland April 2020 and 20221 and Cancer Mortality in Scotland 2021 -PHS Scotland 2022
[vi] Cancer in Scotland: ISD, NHS National Services Scotland, October 2018 pp 16-2
[vii]  See Scottish Cancer Registry May 2016 and Cancer Incidence in Scotland (2014), and Information Services Division NHS National Services Scotland November 2015