FOLLOWING the news that the number of cancer deaths in the region is at its lowest since 1995, Berwickshire MSP John Lamont and NHS Borders Public Health Consultant, Dr Tim Patterson, are urging people to raise concerns with their doctors early on to aid swift diagnosis,
The figures revealed that 323 people died due to cancer in the NHS Borders region last year, the lowest number in 16 years.
The lowest ever figure recorded came in the year records date back to, 1986, when 314 people passed away due to the condition. The highest result for cancer mortalities in the region was in 2002 when 397 people died and as well as being substantially lower than that, the 2011 figure is also a significant drop from the 2010 figure of 358.
Mr Lamont has welcomed the news, and urged more Borderers to look out for potential symptoms of cancer so it can be detected and treated as soon as possible.
He commented: “Cancer is the biggest killer in the UK, accounting for 40% of all premature adult deaths. It is a disease that can drastically affect the lives of those who are diagnosed with it and their families.
“That is why I am so pleased to see that the number of deaths in the Borders caused by cancer has dropped.
“Although the total number is still too high, it is the lowest level we have seen since 1995 and shows that we are managing to better treat and diagnose cancer.
“However, there is no room for complacency and that is why we must always strive to see these figures reduced even further.
“One factor that can have a huge effect on whether an individual can win their battle with cancer is early diagnosis.
“Diagnosing the presence of cancer in its first stage greatly improves the chances of survival and I would encourage residents in the Borders to always be vigilant for symptoms.”
Like Mr Lamont, Dr Patterson said early diagnosis was key and that people shouldn’t worry about raising any concerns with their GP. He commented: “Twice as many people survive cancer today compared to 30 years ago, but detecting cancer early is vital for improving the outcomes for the many thousands of men and women diagnosed with cancer each year. When a cancer is detected early, the more effective treatment can be.”
“It’s normal to worry about cancer. Being diagnosed with it is a terrifying thought but the reality is far less frightening. If you notice any unusual or persistent changes to your body or health, and you’re worried you might have cancer, your doctor wants to see you so make an appointment as soon as you can.
“I would also urge anyone who is offered an appointment for screening, whether it is or cervical cancer, breast screening, or taking the home test for bowel cancer, to please keep it.”