Cancer Death Rates 61% Higher In Poorest Parts Of Scotland, Figures Show

31 October 2017, 12:14

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Death rates for cancer are 61% higher in the most-deprived parts of Scotland, new figures show.

Official statistics also reveal the poorest parts of the country have cancer incidence rates that are 27% higher than the most affluent areas.

Cancers that are associated with smoking "tend to be strongly correlated with deprivation", the NHS report said.

For cancer of the trachea, bronchus and lung, incidence and death rates are three times higher in the most deprived areas compared with the wealthiest.

The figures show that in 2016 a total of 15,814 people died from cancer in Scotland, with lung cancer the most common cause of death, accounting for a quarter of fatalities.

Over the decade to 2016, the lung cancer death rate for men has dropped 23% compared to 6% for women, reflecting "historical trends in the prevalence of smoking".

The death rate for all cancers combined has dropped by 11% over the same period, with a greater decrease for men (13%) than for women (7%).

Breast cancer mortality has decreased by 17% for women while for men the prostrate cancer death rate has fallen by 7%.

However, the mortality rate for liver cancer has increased by 55%, with the main risk factors identified as alcohol and infection with hepatitis B and C.

The death rate for cancer of the body of the uterus has also increased by 71%, which statisticians said may be due in part to changes in fertility and an increase in obesity.

Trisha Hatt, from Macmillan Cancer Support, said: "While it's good news fewer people are dying from cancer, we must remember than many thousands of people will die from the illness every year.

"We know that too often people are missing out on the right support.

"We want to make sure everyone with cancer is offered a care plan outlining how and where they would like to be cared for at the end of life.

"It's also clear from last week's Audit Scotland report that mortality rates from cancer in Scotland are higher than the rest of the UK, and much higher in deprived communities.

"It's vital that work is done to understand and tackle this."