Call Kaye BBC Radio Scotland

Call Kaye – BBC Radio Scotland

Cancer survivors call for more government support when NHS treatment ends


THE Scottish Government is being urged to provide more support to the rising number of people surviving cancer.

Colin Graham, chief executive of Cancer Support Scotland, said official figures released today (Tuesday March 3) showing improved cancer survival rates proved there was a compelling case for financial backing for organisations that help cancer patients but get no government assistance.

He was supported by Cath Clark, a member of HeadsUp, a group which supports people who have had head and neck cancer.

They spoke out as Scottish government figures showed survival increased by approximately 19 percentage points in males and by approximately 14 percentage points in females in an analysis of two five-year periods, 1987-91 and 2007-11.


Official figures published recently also show more help is needed for cancer patients in deprived areas where rates are 34% higher than in the least deprived areas and mortality rates are 71% higher in the most deprived areas compared with the least deprived.

In the last two years, the number of people seeking complementary and talking therapies from Cancer Support Scotland has trebled to more than 4500 available appointments and the figure is growing month by month.

Mr Graham said: “The NHS does a wonderful job but cancer patients often need more than just medical help during their treatment and recovery.

“That’s where a charity like Cancer Support Scotland comes in and provides the type of additional support through our complementary therapies that the NHS doesn’t.

“The Scottish Government must do more to improve support for people when people are going through their treatment and when it ends.

“Everything Cancer Support Scotland provides is free and we depend on the generosity of the public for the funds to allow us to provide therapies which improve the quality of life for the increasing number of cancer patients, their families and carers who are turning to us for emotional, physical and practical support at this traumatic time in their lives.”

Every year, about 30,000 people in Scotland are told they have cancer and trends predict that the number is likely to rise to almost 35,000 in 2016-2020. (Source

An estimated 165,000 people – about 3% of Scotland’s population – have been diagnosed with cancer in the last 20 years and are still alive today.

Cath Clark said: “Many patients require a considerable amount of emotional and practical support even after their treatment ends and this is where charities like Cancer Support Scotland fulfil a vital role. They deserve more government support to assist their work.

“I know how much I benefited from the services Cancer Support Scotland. HeadsUp, based at the charity’s Calman Centre in Glasgow, provided for me when I needed help and there’s no doubt that with the increasing number of people surviving the illness, many more people will be seeking their assistance. They have to raise all the money for the services themselves and the Government should do more to help.”


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