Tuesday 20 August 2019

Cancer survival rates continue to rise - but death toll is still higher for men

Overall, more people in Ireland are being diagnosed with cancer as the population ages. Stock Image
Overall, more people in Ireland are being diagnosed with cancer as the population ages. Stock Image
Eilish O'Regan

Eilish O'Regan

The incidence of cancer among men has declined but their risk of dying from the disease is 36pc higher than it is for women.

The decline in numbers of men suffering is mainly due to falling or static rates of prostate, lung or bowel cancers among them, according to the annual report of the National Cancer Registry.

For women too, the rate of breast cancer has decreased since 2008, after a long period of increase from 1994.

Overall, more people in Ireland are being diagnosed with cancer as the population ages.

On average, 37,591 cancers and other non-invasive tumours were diagnosed annually during the period 2012-2014.

The report showed cancer is the second most common cause of death in Ireland, after diseases of the circulatory system.

About 8,700 cancer deaths annually occurred during 2011-2013, with lung cancer proving the most common, accounting for 21pc of the total.

The statistics show that survival from cancer continues to improve.

Over four consecutive periods, five-year net survival for all cancers - excluding non-melanoma skin cancer - increased incrementally: 1994-1998 (44pc), 1999-2003 (51pc), 2004-2008 (57pc) and 2009-2013 (61pc).

At the end of 2014, there were 139,526 people still alive whose cancer had been diagnosed over the previous 21 years - equivalent to 3pc of the Irish population.

The largest group of survivors are those who had been diagnosed with breast cancer (31,655), prostate cancer (30,642), bowel cancer (17,136) or melanoma of the skin (9,254).

Prof Kerri Clough-Gorr, Director of the Registry and Professor of Cancer Epidemiology at University College Cork, said: "Cancer now accounts for over 30pc of all deaths in Ireland, and its prevention must be a high public health priority.

"The incidence trend in male cancers is encouraging, as we no longer see an increase in rates for the three main male cancers. Whether these improvements will be sustained remains to be seen."

Cancer rates in women seem to have plateaued due to a recent decline in breast cancer, but female lung cancer rates continue to rise, and it is now the second most common major cancer in women.

The cancer incidence rate was 10pc higher in Irishmen than their counterparts in the EU in 2012. This was partly due to increased diagnosis of prostate cancer.

The incidence rate for women in Ireland was 16pc higher than in the EU averages mainly due to more cancers of the lung, ovaries, breast and bowel.

Irish Independent

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News