Thursday 14 November 2019

Five-year survival rates for women with breast cancer here soar to 85pc

Simon Harris. Picture: Steve Humphreys
Simon Harris. Picture: Steve Humphreys
Eilish O'Regan

Eilish O'Regan

More breast cancer patients than ever are beating the disease in Ireland, new figures reveal.

Five-year survival rates for women rose from 70pc between 1994-1999 to 85pc for 2011-2015.

On average, around 3,053 invasive cancers are diagnosed annually and the death rate from the disease fell by around 2pc annually between 1994-2016, according to the report from the National Cancer Registry.

A number of factors are known to have improved survival rates including the reorganisation of hospital cancer services in 2008, earlier detection and awareness, cancer screening and advances in treatments.

The majority of cases in women are diagnosed as stage two, although the proportion that are found at stage one has increased over time.

On average, 25 invasive breast cancer cases per year were diagnosed in Irish men during 2014-2016, the majority were at stage two.

Health Minister Simon Harris described the improvements as "heartening".

The latest analysis comes as a global healthcare study shows breast cancer survival here is slightly below the OECD average.

The OECD's 'Health at a Glance' report 2019 warned that too many people in Ireland are drinking too much.

Ireland ranks sixth-highest among the 36 nations for the amount of alcohol a person drinks annually.

We consume 11.2 litres compared to an average of 8.9 litres, the equivalent of 100 bottles of wine.

The figures show Lithuanians are the heaviest drinkers.

Ireland is also out-flanked by the French, who down 11.7 litres per person annually.

People in Indonesia, Turkey and Israel are the most abstemious.

On average across OECD countries, a person born today can expect to live almost 81 years.

Life expectancy in Ireland is 83.6 years for women and 79.9 years for men.

But life expectancy gains have slowed recently across most OECD countries, especially in the United States, France and the Netherlands.

Rising levels of obesity and diabetes have made it difficult to maintain previous progress in cutting deaths.

Respiratory diseases such as flu and pneumonia have claimed more lives in recent years, notably among older people.

Some 17pc of people over the age of 15 years still smoke in Ireland compared to 25.4pc who light up in France.

However, our waistlines are among the largest in the OECD with 62pc of the population here overweight or obese.

This compares to 64.3pc in the UK, 71pc in the United States and 74.2pc in Chile.

The French, Koreans and Japanese are the slimmest.

While almost 9pc on average across the OECD consider themselves to be in poor health, it is as low as 3.4pc in Ireland.

Ireland has above-average use of antibiotics and among the highest hospital admission rates for asthma.

The death rate of heart attack is below average but we lag behind countries like Iceland and Denmark.

Deaths from air pollution are half the OECD average.

Ireland had fewer doctors than the OECD average.

There are three doctors for every 1,000 patients in this country compared to 3.5 per 1,000 across all the developed countries. Greece has 6.1 doctors per 1,000.

Irish Independent

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