Incidence of cancer in Scotland

  • Public Health Scotland
  • 28 Apr 2020

  • curated by Pavankumar Kamat
  • UK Medical News
Access to the full content of this site is available only to registered healthcare professionals. Access to the full content of this site is available only to registered healthcare professionals.

Public Health Scotland has published an update of cancer incidence statistics in Scotland for the period 1994-2018. The data come from the Scottish Cancer Registry which has been active since 1958.

Key findings from the report are as follows:

  • The overall number of cancer cases rose from 30,600 in 2009 to 34,000 in 2018. The increase is primarily attributable to a growing and ageing population.
  • However, the risk of developing cancer dropped by 3.5 per cent from 2009 to 2018.
  • Although females accounted for a higher number of cancer cases than males (around 17,200 vs 16,700) in 2018, the risk for cancer remained higher in males than in females.
  • Three out of four cancers were diagnosed in individuals aged ≥60 years.
  • Lung cancer is the most common cancer overall. Breast and prostate cancers remain the most common in females and males, respectively. Colorectal cancer is the fourth most common cancer.
  • Lung, colorectal and cervical cancers are more common in the most deprived areas vs the least deprived areas in Scotland, whereas the opposite is true for breast and prostate cancers.
  • Seventy-nine per cent of breast cancers were diagnosed at an early stage (I or II), whereas 46 per cent of lung cancers and 21 per cent of colorectal cancers were diagnosed at a late stage (IV).
  • In the decade to 2018, females witnessed an increase in the rates of thyroid cancer, liver cancer and uterine cancer but a decline in the rates of gastric cancers, ovarian cancer, carcinoma in situ of cervix uteri, leukaemia and non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
  • In the decade to 2018, males witnessed an increase in the rates of thyroid cancer, liver cancer, kidney cancer and malignant melanomas but a significant decline in the rates of stomach cancer and leukaemia.
  • In the decade to 2018, overall rates of lung cancer and colorectal cancer fell by 10 per cent and 18 per cent, respectively. Rates of prostate cancer increased by 7 per cent, whereas there was a minimal change in breast cancer rates in women.