Orkney's MSP, Liam McArthur, has marked World Cancer Day by paying tribute to "invaluable" local cancer charities and reiterated the need to re-open self-referral services.
World Cancer Day is an international day marked on 4 February to raise awareness of cancer and to encourage its prevention, detection, and treatment. On Tuesday, Mr McArthur chaired a debate in the Scottish Parliament marking World Cancer Day.
Last month, Orkney's MSP repeated his call for a re-opening of self-referrals to the Breast Cancer Screening Programme and targeted strategies in communities that rely on mobile screening units. In response, the Minister for Public Health confirmed officials are "accelerating consideration of re-start options".
Scottish Liberal Democrats are calling on the Scottish Government to set out a timeline for when the 62-day target from receipt of referral to treatment for all cancers will be met again.
Commenting, Mr McArthur said:
"A cancer diagnosis can be devastating not just for the individual concerned, but their family, friends and work colleagues. That is why the support provided by local charities is so vitally important.
"On World Cancer Day, I want to pay tribute to those invaluable local charities, such as CLAN and MacMillan, who not only make an enormous difference to local cancer support, but also in raising funds and awareness.
"Their life-saving work was recently recognised by the Christmas Tractor Run that raised over £55,000 for CLAN Orkney and the MS Therapy Centre. This outpouring of support is testament to the excellent work done by those who support individuals who are affected by cancer.
"While we have witnessed significant progress with survival rates doubling in the last 40 years, the pandemic has sadly had a knock-on impact to diagnosis and treatment. As we move back to pre-pandemic arrangements, more will have to be done in places like Orkney that rely on mobile screening units to ensure all those who need or wish to be screened can be seen without fear of lengthy delays.
"Meantime, can I also take this opportunity to encourage anyone with suspected symptoms to please contact your GP and remember that support is available to you and loved ones."