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 2014 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). 

Policy documents on general cancer policy:

Cancer in Scotland: Action for Change, 2001 (2.1Mb) (SE, July 2001) outlined a plan for developing and improving cancer services in Scotland, and highlighted cancer as a major priority for the Scottish Executive. Progress against this document was summarised in Cancer in Scotland: Sustaining Change, 2004 (1.6Mb) (SE, May 2004).  This document covered initiatives undertaken over the three years since the initial document was produced, including modifying risk factors, increasing screening, and improving treatment and services. The Scottish Government published its most recent cancer plan, Better Cancer Care, An Action Plan (1.7Mb), on 27 October 2008.  A progress report was published in 2010.

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.

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.