Published: 09/03/2016 09:52 - Updated: 09/03/2016 09:57

Early detection is key to surviving cancer


ScottishPower employee Jacqueline Kay wearing checks with a piper at Cruachan Power Station.
ScottishPower employee Jacqueline Kay wearing checks with a piper at Cruachan Power Station.

Scottish Government viewpoint

MORE people are surviving cancer than ever before thanks to early detection as the earlier cancer is found, the easier it is to treat.

But there are around 1000 deaths in Scotland every year that could be avoided if survival rates matched the best in Europe.

#GetChecked is a national drive from the Scottish Government and Cancer Research UK to help encourage more people to get unusual or persistent changes to their body checked sooner rather than later, in a bid to boost cancer survival rates.

The idea behind the campaign is to make every day check patterns synonymous with finding cancer early, so that every time someone sees a check they think about visiting their GP if they have concerns, attending screening when invited, or encouraging a loved one to do the same.

A host of organisations and people the width and breadth of the country have already backed the drive by proudly displaying their colourful checks in stores, at their workplaces or fashionably on themselves.

Jacqueline Kay, who was given the all clear from a rare form of cancer – myxoid liposarcoma – in October spoke about her experience as her employer ScottishPower got on board.

Jaqueline (46), from Cumbernauld, was diagnosed after getting a lump that looked like a burn blister on her thigh checked out by her GP.

She said: “I feel lucky that my cancer was caught early and hadn’t spread anywhere else. It was isolated around the lump, so was able to be removed through surgery back in August. “I didn’t really think that the silly wee innocuous lump I found on my thigh could be anything to be concerned about, so it was a huge shock to discover it was cancer. If it hadn’t looked so unsightly then I might have left it but, because it wasn’t going away, I thought I had better get it checked by my GP.

“I would say to anyone go and get checked because the chances are it won’t be anything to worry about and it will put your mind at ease. But, if like me, it’s something serious, then it’s better that it’s caught early so treatment can start straight away.”

You’re 14 times more likely to survive bowel cancer when it’s found at an early stage compared to a late stage. For lung cancer, you’re 20 times more likely to survive and for breast cancer, five times.

Cancer Research UK senior public affairs manager in Scotland Gregor McNie said: “More people than ever are living beyond a cancer diagnosis and, over the last 30 years, survival in the UK has doubled. Today half of all those told they have cancer will survive the disease for at least 10 years.

“Jacqueline’s story shows that swift action is vital when tackling cancer. We know that early detection saves lives but to help make that happen it’s important that people with unusual or persistent changes to their body go and get checked..”

You can show your support for finding cancer early by tweeting a checked selfie using #GetChecked. For more information visit

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