Not a day goes by when cancer does not make the headlines. I hope that one day the word survival will feature alongside it more often than not.
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and I recently spoke at an event in the Scottish Parliament for the charity, Breast Cancer Now. They launched last June with the ambition of ensuring that no one dies from the disease by 2050, and I was there to talk about the development of a cancer plan for Scotland, and the improvement of services for those that have been diagnosed.
Each year in Scotland around 4600 women are diagnosed with breast cancer and sadly nearly 1000 still lose their lives because of it.
But it is important to recognise the work being done and the successes over the years. Recent statistics show that more people than ever before are surviving cancer in Scotland. The estimated five year survival for women diagnosed in the period 2007-11 was 82.8 per cent - an increase of 17 per cent since 1987. So advances are being made and can only be an encouragement for those who receive the diagnosis. However, more can always be done.
It is the people affected by the disease that provide much of the inspiration to continue the fight for better treatments and services.
I recently read in the Mearns Leader about Suzanne Davies from Newtonhill who was nominated for a Finding Scotland’s Heroes 2015 Award, after she raised £30,000 for The Brain Tumour Charity, while also battling her own brain tumour.
I would like to congratulate Suzanne on her bravery – as well as all the other men and women who live locally and for whom cancer has become part of their story. When cancer is diagnosed in years to come, we want survival to be the final word on the subject.