Charity calls for lung disease deaths action

British Lung Foundation says early diagnosis key to tackle third biggest killer of Scots

Wednesday 26th June 2019

Chronic lung disease was Scotland’s third most common cause of death last year, figures published today by the National Records of Scotland show.

Lung disease accounted for 7,128 deaths in Scotland in 2018, representing 12.2% of all deaths – an increase of 0.3% on the year before. 

Of 58,503 deaths in 2018, deaths from all cancers taken together formed the largest cause – claiming 16,575 lives.

Deaths from lung cancer and chronic respiratory disease accounted for 11,108 deaths, making it the third most common cause of death in Scotland and the most common cause of death from cancer.

Heart/cerebrovascular disease – the second most common cause – accounted for 14,823 deaths.

Commenting on the latest figures, Joseph Carter, head of the British Lung Foundation Scotland, said:

“It is really sad to see lung cancer and chronic respiratory diseases continue to cut lives short in Scotland.

“Although action has been taken to tackle smoking, deaths from lung disease have remained relatively static over the last ten years.

“More progress is needed in diagnosing lung disease earlier. Too many people receive a lung disease diagnosis at a late stage, which limits the range of effective treatment options available.”

In May of this year the Scottish Government’s Public Health Minister, Joe FitzPatrick, assured a British Lung Foundation reception in Holyrood a respiratory action plan was being developed.

Mr Carter added: “Earlier diagnosis and better treatment require sustained investment in respiratory care services. The Scottish Government must bring forward its respiratory care action plan at the earliest opportunity to kickstart that investment and ensure more people can live well with healthy lungs.”