Number of cancer cases to jump by 72 per cent
Respected body says country faces epidemic within the next 20 years
THE number of cancer cases in Ireland will rise by a shocking 72 per cent in the next two decades.
The warning from a respected health agency comes as Ireland heads a list of 27 countries in the European Union for projected cancer cases between now and 2030.
New cases of cancer are predicted to rise from 19,454 in 2008 to 33,416 in 18 years.
The league table, compiled by the World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF), showed Cyprus ranked a distant second with a 55 per cent rise, followed by Luxembourg with a 53 per cent increase.
A spokesman for the WCRF, who announced the shock findings to mark World Cancer Day, declined to speculate why Ireland was heading for a cancer epidemic.
WCRF spokesman Andy Wilks said: "You would have to look at the factors relating to the causes behind cancer, things like smoking, diet, body weight, obesity is becoming a bigger issue."
He also cited factors such as a growing population and "a high portion of an age group in which cancer is prevalent".
Ireland is expected to see a 91 per cent hike in cancer cases among the over-65s, compared with 48 per cent among the same age group in the UK.
In the 'league table' of 27 EU member states -- calculated using World Health Organisation estimates for new cancer cases in 2030 -- Ireland comes top and is predicted to see the greatest percentage increase with a 72 per cent rise.
Ireland is followed by Cyprus (55 per cent), Luxembourg (53 per cent) and Malta (49 per cent).