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Volume 930: debated on Wednesday 27 April 1977

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asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if, in view of the International Agency Research on Cancer Annual Report for 1976 which estimates that 30 to 50 per cent. of cancer in men in countries such as Scotland are potentially preventible, he will publish in the Official Report the total number of male cancer deaths annually in Scotland and the number considered to be preventible, and the individual estimates of expenditure annually on cancer research, early cancer detection, cancer treatment and primary prevention of cancer by the Scottish Home and Health Department and by cancer charities in Scotland.

The total number of male deaths per annum in Scotland attributable primarily to cancer is shown in the report of the Registrar General for Scotland and was 7,056 in 1976. It has been estimated in recent scientific papers on the subject that as many as 90 per cent. of cancer deaths may be attributable to exposure to carcinogens, including cigarette smoking, and thus in principle preventible; but the estimates of 30 per cent. to 50 per cent. quoted in the 1976 Annual Report of the International Agency Research on Cancer would be regarded by most authorities as more realistic.The Scottish Home and Health Department spends about £80,000 per annum on research directly related to cancer. Research on a wide range of allied subjects may also have a bearing on the prevention or treatment of the disease. The Department also contributes, along with the Department of Health and Social Security, to the very much larger expenditure of the Medical Research Council on biomedical research which includes projects having a bearing on cancer.Routine test for early detection of cancer are practicable at present only for cancer of the cervix, but the costs of the screening service are not available centrally. The costs of cancer treatment are not separately identifiable from other hospital costs.The Government take a variety of measures directed to the reduction of environmental exposure to carcinogens and thus to the primary prevention of cancer, but their costs also are not separately identified. In addition, health education is a major element in the Government's strategy, and the subject of smoking is a continuing feature of the Scottish Health Education Unit's programme. The unit's anti-smoking cam- paign, which is directed against lung cancer and other chest diseases, cost £215,000 in 1976–77.I do not have information on the expenditure by Scottish cancer charities, but it is estimated that they spend nearly £1 million per annum on research including contributions which they make through the Medical Research Council.