Breast cancer: policy context

Policy documents specific to breast cancer:

Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women in Scotland and the second commonest cancer overall
after lung cancer. Although the five year relative survival has been improved over the last decade, from 61% for those diagnosed and treated in 1983-1987 to 88% in 2007-2011, there is still evidence of variation in the treatment patients with breast cancer receive.

With the continuing development of new therapies, ensuring that there is optimisation of available treatments
for all patients is important. There are still gaps in the evidence base required to provide answers to the
questions asked by both patients and health professionals in the management of patients with breast cancer.

In 2013 the Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network (SIGN) published the SIGN guideline 134 (3.5Mb), which aims to provide recommendations based on current evidence for best practice in the treatment of patients with operable early breast cancer. It includes recommendations on surgery, chemotherapy, radiotherapy, endocrine therapy and other therapies such as biological therapy.

This guideline supersedes the previous SIGN guideline 29 and SIGN guideline 84 (no longer available). 

Breast screening standards (325kb) (Quality Improvement Scotland, 2002). These standards are being revised by Healthcare Improvement Scotland. More details on their website.

Review of the Scottish Breast Screening Programme (1243kb) (Healthcare Improvement Scotland, 2016). The review was carried out by a multidisciplinary team including cancer, screening and IT specialists and supported by Healthcare Improvement Scotland staff.

Policy documents on general cancer policy:

Beating Cancer: Ambition and Action (SG, March 2016) outlines the government’s plan for improving the prevention, detection, diagnosis, treatment and after care for people affected by cancer in Scotland.

Scottish Referral Guidelines for Suspected Cancer (Healthcare Improvement Scotland, 2014). These revised guidelines aim to facilitate appropriate referral between primary and secondary care for patients whom a GP suspects may have cancer.

Detect Cancer Early (SG, 2012) - this programme aims to improve survival for people with cancer in Scotland and to be among the best in Europe by diagnosing and treating the disease at an earlier stage.

Cancer Plan for Children and Young People: Sets out how a how a safe and sustainable service will be delivered, and includes a commitment to develop services appropriate to the needs of teenagers and young adults up to age 25.

Transforming Care after Treatment (2013) - this programme is a partnership between the SG, Macmillan cancer support, NHS Scotland and local authorities to support a redesign of care following active treatment for cancer.

The Scottish Government's Cancer webpages provide further information on cancer policy and its implementation in Scotland.