It found that only three-in-10 people were given a care plan, and only four-in-10 received advice on how to access benefits during their treatment. The Scottish Cancer Experience Survey also found that almost half of patients felt they had not been emotionally and psychologically supported. However, the vast majority of the 5,000 people surveyed rated their overall experience positively.
Labour called for Health Secretary Jeane Freeman to explain how she will improve support for patients.
Health spokeswoman Monica Lennon said: “There is not a single family in Scotland which has not been affected by cancer. That’s why it’s so important patients get the treatment they need and the aftercare they deserve. It is clear from this survey that there is room for improvement for the SNP government.
“The Health Secretary must look at these findings and return to Parliament to set out how she intends to improve the experience of cancer patients”
The survey was carried out with Macmillan Cancer Support. Janice Preston, the charity’s head in Scotland, said there were some “really positive” findings, adding: “However, it’s clear the emotional, practical and financial needs of many people are still not being met and that some people aren’t receiving care plans, despite the positive impact we know they have on people’s care.
“Cancer can affect every aspect of life, causing problems from debt to depression. It’s essential that people know where to turn for support. Providing everyone with cancer with a care plan would ensure people received personalised care and all their individual needs are met.”
Ms Freeman said she expected health boards to listen to what cancer patients were saying and make any improvements needed.
She added: “The results of this survey will support us in making further improvements in cancer care.”
Meanwhile, the number of people diagnosed with cancer rose from just under 30,000 a year a decade ago to more than 32,200 last year.
Gordon Matheson of Cancer Research UK said: “There are many reasons why, including an ageing population, but there’s much that people can do to stack the odds in their favour.
“Smoking remains the number one preventable cause of cancer, followed by carrying too much weight.”