THE number of people living with a cancer diagnosis across Scotland has risen to nearly a quarter of a million, new analysis suggests.

Macmillan Cancer Support calculated the figure from national cancer registry data and estimated it was a 15% increase from 2015.

The charity predicts the number of people to have been diagnosed with cancer in Scotland will have risen to 300,000 by 2025, an increase of more than a third in 10 years.

Macmillan said the rising number of patients with a cancer diagnosis underlines the challenge facing cancer care in Scotland and called for action from the Scottish Government.

READ MORE: Ribociclib and Xeomin among five new drugs approved for NHS

Head of Macmillan in Scotland, Janice Preston, said: “The staff who work in the NHS and social care do some of the toughest jobs in the country. They want to give people with cancer the care and support they deserve but they’re struggling under the weight of the ever-increasing numbers of people who need their help.

“It’s heartbreaking to hear from staff feel they’re failing cancer patients because they just don’t have enough time. It’s devastating when people with cancer tell us they didn’t ask for help they desperately need as they didn’t want to burden overworked staff.”

Macmillan and the Scottish Government recently announced a joint £18m project to provide cancer patients across the country with access to a support worker, and improve the efficiency and effectiveness of cancer care.

The charity said that this would go a long way to helping people with cancer, but it stressed adequate numbers of medical and social care staff are “vital”.

Preston added: “The Scottish Government has committed to publishing a workforce plan to tackle the issues in the system.

“We look forward to seeing a fully-funded plan that sets out how it will ensure hard-working staff can give people with cancer the care they deserve now and in the future.”