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14 November 2014, 06:08
One person in Scotland will be diagnosed with cancer every 15 minutes by the end of 2016, according to figures from a charity.
Macmillan Cancer Support says the ageing population means that in two years' time, the diagnosis rate will have risen to almost 90 people a day - or more than 32,000 people a year.
This is an increase of around 18% from 1996 when 27,250 people were diagnosed with cancer.
There are currently 190,000 people living with cancer in Scotland, with that number expected to double by 2030.
The figures were published by Macmillan as the charity called for the Scottish Government to put in place a long term plan to cope with the increasing number of people being diagnosed with and surviving cancer.
The charity's Scottish head, Janice Preston, said: "We know the NHS is already under real pressure trying to cope with the number of people living with cancer.
"Waiting times targets are being missed, and many patients tell us that while their medical treatment was good, often no-one tells them where to find support coping with the emotional, financial and practical problems cancer can cause.
"It is vitally important that we transform the way we deliver cancer care to make sure our system can meet the needs of the huge numbers of people who will be diagnosed with the illness in the future.
"This means not only ensuring they get the best possible medical care, but that their emotional, practical and financial needs are also met.''
Macmillan said the rise in the number of people being diagnosed with cancer is largely down to people living longer, with around two in three cases diagnosed in people aged 65 or over.
A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: "Scotland is committed to leading the way on cancer. Our £30 million Detect Cancer Early programme has resulted in a 4.7% increase in earlier stage diagnosis, and death rates from cancer in Scotland have fallen by 11.4% over the last 10 years.
"The Scottish Government has set clear cancer treatment time standards for all health boards and between April and June this year, 96.3% of patients began their treatment within the 31-day target, with the median wait being seven days.
"We closely monitor health board performance and where performance issues are identified, support teams have been deployed to help boards reduce waiting times, as well as facilitating and sharing best practice among the country's health boards.
"This decisive action, coupled with a £2.5 million investment in June to build diagnostic and treatment capacity, is now starting to show real improvements.''