An NHS initiative in Scotland aims to increase by 25 per cent the number of people diagnosed with cancer in the initial stages of the disease.
The new £30m strategy, which features a major advertising campaign, is likely to affect the workloads of those involved in screening programmes and initially focuses on breast, bowel and lung cancer.
These are the most prevalent types of cancer in Scotland, yet 2005-9 figures show that only 15 per cent of patients with these three types of cancer were diagnosed in the early stage. The figure for lung cancer was just 6.2 per cent.
Increased funding has been allocated to expand diagnostic and screening capacity, support rapid diagnosis and treatment, increase the rate of early referral and pay for extra treatments.
General practitioners who suspect a patient may have the disease will be encouraged to make earlier referrals or appointments for testing.
And a new TV and radio advertising campaign has been launched to raise awareness of early symptoms and publicise screening programmes. It is hoped this will encourage people to seek help sooner.