Thursday 19 September 2019

Tackling smoking, diet key to halving rise in cancer

Change your lifestyle: Expert advice to slow growth in diagnoses

Stock Image
Stock Image

Ralph Riegel

Tackling smoking, obesity and other key lifestyle factors could help to halve the rate of increase in cancer over the next 25 years, experts say.

More than 200,000 Irish people are alive in 2019 having survived cancer, thanks to enhanced treatment systems and support services.

Between 1996 and 2015, the number of people diagnosed with cancer in Ireland soared by a remarkable 85pc.

A similar surge in detection is now expected by 2045 due to the rapidly ageing profile of Ireland's population and lifestyle factors including smoking and obesity.

But National Cancer Registry (NCR) research manager Dr Conan Donnelly says the rate of increase could be almost halved from more than 90pc to about 50pc.

That would be achieved by lifestyle changes matching continuing declines in the rate of some cancers.

"The overall increase by 2045 could be a more modest 50pc increase if recent trends, including declines, in rates of some cancers continue," said Dr Donnelly. "Cancers and related tumours are now the most common cause of death in Ireland (just ahead of diseases of the circulatory system), and an annual average of about 8,875 deaths from invasive cancer (or 9,094 deaths from all tumours) occurred during 2013-2015.

"Lung cancer was the leading cause of cancer death in both sexes, accounting for 19pc of cancer deaths in women and 23pc in men."

Cancer has proved far more lethal for men than women.

"The risk of dying of cancer was about 34pc higher for men than for women," Dr Donnelly said. "Nevertheless, survival has improved markedly for cancers as a whole and for the most common cancer types since the mid-1990s.

"For invasive cancers, the overall five-year net survival increased from 40pc for males during 1994-1998 to 62pc during 2010-2014.

"In females, five-year net survival increased from 48pc during 1994-1998 to 60pc during 2010-2014."

Ireland's four most common cancers among the surviving cancer patient population were breast cancer (23pc), prostate cancer (20pc), colorectal cancer (12pc) and melanoma (7pc).

Meanwhile, Breakthrough Cancer Research (BCR) will stage a conference at University College Cork tomorrow and Friday aimed at underlining how research is helping to transform the treatment and support of cancer patients.

Among the items to be discussed are a new generation of cancer drugs, the use of immunotherapy treatments and the need for ongoing investment in research.

Irish Independent

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News