Tuesday 6 December 2016

Maire Geoghegan-Quinn: Cancer knows no boundaries – but we can slow death rate

Maire Geoghegan-Quinn

Published 04/02/2014 | 02:30

Cancer will claim up to 10,000 lives in Ireland this year. Photo: Getty Images.
Cancer will claim up to 10,000 lives in Ireland this year. Photo: Getty Images.
Maire Geoghegan-Quinn.

Cancer will claim close to 10,000 lives in Ireland this year, making it the country's second biggest killer after cardiovascular disease. A further 33,000 people will get the devastating news that they have been diagnosed with a form of cancer, with all the stress that this brings to them, their families and friends. The stark reality is that one in three people in Ireland will develop cancer during their lifetime.

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On this, World Cancer Day, we must remember that in 2012, about 3.5 million people in Europe were diagnosed with cancer and 1.8 million died as a result of it. As our populations age, cancer is on track to become the main cause of death in many countries.

Breakthroughs in our understanding of the best ways to prevent, diagnose and treat cancer are beginning to pay some dividends, helping to save the lives of thousands of citizens. Put simply: while the number of cancer cases is rising, the number of deaths is rising more slowly. This reflects well on the systems of care and support that have been put in place over the years.

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