Scottish Longitudinal Study
Development & Support Unit

Current Projects

Project Title:

An examination of the characteristics of cancer patients in Fife, Tayside and The Lothians

Project Number:



Hannah Dale (NHS Fife / University of St Andrews)
Kathryn Quinn (NHS Fife)
Pauline Adair (NHS Fife)
Gerry Humphris (University of St Andrews)
Gozde Ozakinci (University of St Andrews)

Start Date:

Approved on 07-06-2010


Minimal data of the characteristics of the cancer population in Fife, Tayside and the Lothians is known. The available data comes from ISD data on all cancer registrations. ISD data includes a breakdown for each region for incidence and mortality by sex, age group and deprivation category, including data specifically requested by ISD. However, further detail lacks, including breakdowns within these categories, such as incidence and mortality rates for those of different age groups and sex within different mortality groups. Additionally, no data on marital status, living arrangements or nationality or the interactions between these is available from ISD. It would also be beneficial to have details of severe mental illness within the cancer population through mental hospital admissions data.

A detailed picture of the characteristics of cancer patients in Fife, Tayside and The Lothians is thus not currently available. Therefore, SLS data linked to ISD cancer registration data would enable the health psychology services to have better understanding of the total population and whether there are sub-populations who are and are not accessing psychological services. This will help inform any targeted interventions, which may include around health behaviour change.

Additionally, research currently being completed by the researchers through a questionnaire study hopes to gain a more in depth understanding of the psychological and health behaviour change needs of the male cancer population in Fife, Tayside and the Lothians. Therefore data gained from the SLS would enable an examination of how representative the research sample is of the whole population of cancer sufferers in Fife.

Whilst data for Fife, Tayside and the Lothians is especially requested, in order to fully examine trends, data for the whole of Scotland is required in order to look at deviations from the average in terms of characteristics of patient samples in the different areas.

The aims of examining the SLS data are:

  • To gain in depth population-based demographic information about cancer patients in Fife, Tayside and the Lothians;
  • To know details of inpatients for mental illnesses within the cancer population in Fife, Tayside and the Lothians;
  • To compare the characteristics of cancer patients within the SLS with cancer patients from a questionnaire study currently underway.


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Explore the variables held in the SLS data dictionary.

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