The past 20 years has brought year-on-year improvement in survival rates in a number of the common cancers, says Dr Seamus O Reilly, consultant medical oncologist at Cork University Hospital.
"There has been significant improvement in cancer outcomes, through earlier detection, better treatment and better public awareness," he explains.
People are now more health conscious in some ways, although a significant number continue to smoke, while the worsening obesity problem in both adult and children is a cause for concern.
"About 15pc of the cancers we see are obesity related," he says, pointing out that 80pc of men over 40 are overweight and half of them are obese.
People are also far more aware of the dangers posed by skin cancer than they would have been even two decades ago, he says.
"Nowadays, for example, if parents allowed a child to become sunburned, society would consider it negligent. That's something that started in the mid-90s," said Dr O'Reilly.
People are also more alert to the dangers of moles, he explains, while the referral system for investigation is now more streamlined.
"In Cork, for example, there is the pigmented lesion clinic at the South Infirmary Victoria Hospital for patients with suspicious moles and lesions.
"Some patients would have extensive moles and they cannot all be removed, so there are mole-mapping clinics which do this – we have one at Cork University Hospital."
Here, staff photograph the skin and set up a detailed record of the skin, so that any changes can be monitored.
"If you're a GP with a patient who has a mole, you want to know where to send the patient to be dealt with as soon as possible," he explains, adding that the Pigmented Lesion clinic at the South Infirmary allows for more streamlined care.
The consultant-led mole-mapping service, which is part of the the overall Pigmented Lesion Service in Cork, has only become available in the past 10 years or so. Mole-mapping clinics are now established in several parts of the country.
"There's been significant improvement in cancer care in Ireland in the last two decades, but I'd like to see similar progress on prevention.
"We need to address the problem of obesity to improve cancer outcomes, and as regards skin cancer I'd like to see people become more sun aware.
"There are guidelines for the follow-up of common cancers which are developed by professional bodies and which should ideally be followed.
"Follow-up, after-cancer treatment is important, to ensure the treatment has worked, that there are not any long- term side-effects from the treatment – and to help detect any potential return of the cancer."
Follow-up checks don't prevent recurrence, but sometimes earlier detection can improve outcomes, he explains.