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Parliamentary debates and questions

S5W-10298: Miles Briggs (Lothian)

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

Date lodged: 11 July 2017

To ask the Scottish Government what action it is taking to help people with less survivable cancers, such as pancreatic cancer, who are reportedly nearly six times less likely to live for five years than people with other types of cancer.

Answered by: Shona Robison 28 July 2017

Our cancer strategy, ‘Beating Cancer: Ambition and Action’ recognises the need to reduce the variation in survival rates of different types of cancer as much as possible. The strategy is accompanied by £100 million investment, and serves as a blueprint for the future of cancer services in Scotland. We also support the national Quality Performance Indicator programme which aims to drive improvement in the outcomes and survival rates for people with cancer, including those noted by the Less Survivable Cancers Taskforce.

In 2014 to help support earlier referral or investigation of patients who may be showing a suspicion of cancer, Healthcare Improvement Scotland updated and published revised Scottish Referral Guidelines for Suspected Cancer, which cover a wide range of tumour types. These guidelines should help in the identification of peoplemost likely to have cancer and require specialist assessment. The updated version of the guidelines is available at the following Link: http://www.healthcareimprovementscotland.org/our_work/cancer_care_improvement/programme_resources/scottish_referral_guidelines.aspx.

With regard to pancreatic cancer specifically, Scotland is currently the only part of the UK whose government is specifically co-funding research into pancreatic cancer along with a charity.

As part of the £4 million Precision Medicine Ecosystem Investment announced by the First Minister in February 2016, the Scottish Government has made available over £700,000 to support “Precision Panc”, a pan-Scotland study led by Professor Andrew Biankin from the University of Glasgow that uses state of the art techniques to better characterise pancreatic cancer, allowing patients to be recruited to clinical trials efficiently and quickly. In March 2017, Cancer Research UK announced an investment of £10 million to support Precision Panc. This investment will allow the molecular profiling of patients’ tumours, and help to improve our understanding of this tumour type.