Sunday 20 October 2019

'Wake-up call' - cancer overtakes heart disease as Ireland's biggest killer

Averil Power, Irish Cancer Society
Averil Power, Irish Cancer Society
Over 40,000 new patients were diagnosed with cancer last year (stock picture)
Eilish O'Regan

Eilish O'Regan

Cancer has overtaken heart disease for the first time to become Ireland's biggest killer.

The annual report of the National Cancer Registry Based shows 41,080 new patients were diagnosed with the disease last year.

Non-melanoma skin cancer, prostate cancer and breast cancer were the most commonly diagnosed cancers.

The total numbers of cancers diagnosed annually have increased by about 85pc since the mid-1990s, largely reflecting population growth and ageing.

Cancer incidence projections suggest a further potential doubling of annual case numbers between 2015 and 2045.

However, survival has improved markedly for cancers as a whole and for the most common cancer types since the mid-1990s.

The overall five-year net survival increased from 40pc for men during 1994-1998 to 62pc during 2010-2014.

Among women, the five-year net survival increased from 48pc during 1994-1998 to 60pc during 2010-2014.

Responding to the figures, Averil Power of the Irish Cancer Society said they are a ‘wake-up call’ that must prompt immediate action.

“While these projections are stark, they need not become a reality” she said. “By improving our lifestyles and availing of free screening each of us can dramatically reduce our risk of getting cancer.

“Four in ten cancers are preventable. We can all reduce our risk of getting cancer by eating healthily, exercising and limiting our alcohol intake. Smokers can quit with the support of services such as the

She called for more measures to address health inequalities.

"Disadvantaged groups are still more likely to get, and die, from cancer than more privileged groups. We won’t stand for that.

"We will continue to call for better access to cancer tests for all, increased uptake of screening programmes and no barriers to seeing doctors.

“Together, these actions could save thousands of lives in the years ahead,” she concluded.

Online Editors

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News