Public Health Scotland released new data looking at the period July to September this year.
The NHS has again failed to meet a key waiting times standard for treating cancer patients, with fewer people starting to get help within two months of their initial referral.
Ministers have set the target of having 95% of patients begin treatment within 62 days of being referred for help because cancer is suspected.
But in the period July to September 2021 only 83.1% began their treatment in this timeframe – down from 84.1% in the previous three months and below the 87.3% that was achieved in July to September 2020.
None of Scotland’s health boards met the goal of starting to treat patients within two months of referral – and nor was this target achieved for any cancer types.
The latest figures from Public Health Scotland showed that in NHS Orkney only two out of five (40%) of patients referred with an urgent suspicion of cancer began treatment within two months, the lowest rate in Scotland.
And less than three quarters (71.8%) of those suspected of having bowel cancer began treatment within two days, compared to 76% of those with cervical cancer, 91.5% of those with lung cancer and 92.7% of those with breast cancer.
It comes as the number of people being referred to help increased by almost a third from the same time last year.
There were 4,011 people referred for help in the period July to September – 31.6% more than the same period last year, after cancer screening programmes were paused in Scotland at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The latest figures showed just over half (50.3%) of those referred for treatment from the bowel cancer screening programme began getting help within two months in July to September.
This compares to 68.4% of patients who were referred after cervical screening, and 94.5% of those referred after breast screening.
However the NHS as a whole did meet the target of having 95% of patients start treatment once a decision had been made on how best to deal with their cancer.
This was achieved for 96.7% of cancer patients in July to September, the figures showed – although this was down from 98.1% of patients in the previous three months and 98.4% of patients in the same period in 2020.
All health boards met this 31-day standard, apart from NHS Grampian, where 94.6% of patients began getting treatment in this time, the data showed.