October 2, 2008

Liver Cancer Deaths Soar in Lothians

By Adam Morris

FEARS about growing alcohol abuse in the Lothians were re- ignited today as new figures showed a soaring number of deaths from liver cancer.

Statistics released by the Scottish Government show 62 people died from the disease in the Lothians in 2007 - nearly twice as many as in 2000.

The death toll is also the highest ever recorded since records began in 1985 - when only 21 people died of the disease.

The statistics for Lothian are in keeping with the national trend, and are being linked with growing abuse of alcohol by people of all ages in the Lothians. Campaigners have called the statistics "alarming" and warned they will only get worse in the next decade.

The British Liver Trust's director of information, Imogen Shillito, said: "

We are encouraged by initiatives by the Scottish Government, but the cultural changes can take 20 years to take effect. These figures show it is really alarming how fast liver cancer is on the rise."

Councillor Marjorie Thomas, the city's licensing convener, said: "We could all benefit by thinking a little more carefully about how easy it can be to fill up a large wine glass, or how strong some beers can be."

Rising cases of liver cancer were not the only cause for concern.

Deaths caused by skin cancer in men are shown to be creeping up in the Lothians, with 16 last year, although the rates in women remain roughly the same.

Male mortality rates in bladder and brain cancer were at all- time highs, while more people than ever lost their lives to connective tissue cancer and more females died from lung cancer. Many of those statistics can be attributed to an increasing Lothians population.

The figures did show that numerous awareness campaigns by NHS Lothian involving more intimate cancers seem to have paid off.

Despite rising cases of prostate cancer fatalities across Scotland, Lothian bucked the trend, with the lowest number of deaths in a decade.

And there was not a single death from testicular cancer and only 132 deaths from breast cancer, the second lowest since records began. Nine women died from cervical cancer, the lowest since the beginning of the 1985 records.

Overall in the Lothians, 2092 people died of cancer in the last year, a figure much the same as trends from the last two decades show.

Dr Dermot Gorman, a public health consultant for NHS Lothian, said: "We have made great advances in medical care in recent years to the extent that many people will survive and recover from what were once terminal conditions. These advances include improvements in detection and treatment.

"The launch of screening programmes, such as those for breast, cervical and bowel cancer, is helping in the detection of cancers at a stage where we have a good chance of making a difference."

Originally published by Adam Morris Health Reporter.

(c) 2008 Evening News; Edinburgh (UK). Provided by ProQuest LLC. All rights Reserved.