An increasing number of cancer patients are being treated within target waiting times in Scotland although provision is not consistent across the country, figures have revealed.
Overall, 94.6% of patients began their treatment within 62 days of being urgently referred between July and September last year. This was the highest proportion ever, just short of the 95% target set in 2000, and a rise from the previous quarter's total of 93.5%.
This compares with 91.6% of patients who received treated within the target time in the same period the previous year.
In NHS Lothian 98.1% of all patients began treatment within 62 days, compared with just 84.1% in NHS Dumfries and Galloway - the worst-performing mainland health board.
This year, nine of Scotland's 14 NHS boards met the target between July and September, demonstrating "substantial progress", according to health secretary Nicola Sturgeon.
She said: "It is very welcome to see that the majority of patients diagnosed with cancer who were urgently referred are rightly starting their treatment within two months."
The figures show a variation in treatment of different types of cancer - 98.4% of breast cancer patients began their treatment within 62 days of urgent referral whereas just 84.4% of lymphoma patients were treated within the target time.