About this release

This release by Public Health Scotland (PHS) presents performance against the National Breast Cancer Quality Performance Indicators (QPIs) in the cancer QPIs dashboard held within the Scottish Cancer Registry and Intelligence Service (SCRIS).

Main points

  • There were 4,235 women diagnosed with Breast Cancer in Scotland in 2020. This was a large reduction from the previous years (5,021 women were diagnosed in 2019 and 5,026 in 2018).
  • The large reduction in 2020 numbers will be due to the pausing of the breast screening services (March 30 to August 3), as well as COVID-19 restrictions.
  • At Scotland level for 2020, the target was met for eight of the 16 indicators, though pandemic restrictions have affected performance against QPI 6(i).
  • Some of the QPI targets have proved challenging to achieve consistently over the three years (QPIs 9, 11(i), 16 and 18(i).
  • It is reassuring however that some QPIs achieved the target in 2020 for the first time (QPIs 8(ii), 10 and 17). QPIs continue to be a driver for improvement and some progress has been made despite the effects of the pandemic.


National cancer quality performance indicators have been developed to support continuous quality improvement in cancer care. NHS boards are required to report these indicators against a clinically agreed indicator specific target as part of the mandatory national cancer quality programme. They have been developed collaboratively by North Cancer Alliance (external website), South East Scotland Cancer Network (external website), West of Scotland Cancer Network (external website), Healthcare Improvement Scotland (external website) and PHS.

Further information


The Cancer QPIs are located within the SCRIS dashboard, thus bringing all the cancer data together in the one place. Access to the Cancer QPIs dashboard is restricted and is accessible via the User Access system.


For further information please refer to the West of Scotland Cancer (WoSCAN), North Cancer Alliance (NCA) and South East of Scotland Cancer (SCAN) published reports.

Breast Cancer Indicators

Definitions and details on updating or archiving Breast Cancer indicators are available from Healthcare Improvement Scotland.

Cancer Quality Performance Indicators

Information on Cancer Quality Performance Indicators is available on the Data and Intelligence website.

For more information on the National Cancer Quality Programme please view Scottish Government letter CEL 06 2012 [PDF] on the Scottish Government Health and Social Care Directorates website.

The next release of this publication will be April 2025.

General enquiries

If you have an enquiry relating to this publication, please email phs.cancerstats@phs.scot.

Media enquiries

If you have a media enquiry relating to this publication, please contact the Communications and Engagement team.

Requesting other formats and reporting issues

If you require publications or documents in other formats, please email phs.otherformats@phs.scot.

To report any issues with a publication, please email phs.generalpublications@phs.scot.

Older versions of this publication

Versions of this publication released before 16 March 2020 may be found on the Data and Intelligence, Health Protection Scotland or Improving Health websites.

Last updated: 21 March 2024
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