This report highlights the continuing increase in the cancer burden in Ireland. The number of cancer cases continues to increase by 3% annually and the number of deaths by about 1% annually.
Other highlights of the report include:
- The commonest cancers are breast cancer in women (32% of the total), prostate cancer in men (31%). Colorectal/bowel (13%) and lung (11%) are the commonest cancers affecting both sexes.
- Lung cancer is the commonest cause of cancer death in both sexes (20% of all deaths), although this cancer is almost completely avoidable. Lung cancer mortality in Irish women is the 4th highest in Europe; it is more than 50% above the European average and still increasing.
- The risk of developing cancer is increasing by around 1% a year but the risk of dying of cancer is falling by about the same amount, showing the impact of improving cancer survival.
- Long-term survival from cancer has greatly increased in the past decade. Survival at five years from diagnosis has gone from 42% in 1994-1999 to 60% in 2005-2009 in men and from 52% to 62% over the same period in women. Survival for some cancers—testis, prostate and thyroid—is now over 90% at five years.
- There are currently over 100,000 cancer survivors in Ireland. Although the number of male and female survivors is about the same, about 25% of all survivors are women with breast cancer.
- Although most cancer patients are aged over 65 at diagnosis, more than half of the patients with cancers of the cervix, testis and Hodgkin’s lymphoma were aged under 50 at diagnosis.
- The number of patients having chemotherapy has increased by 13% between 2000-2004 and 2005-2009. The largest increase was for cancers which had a previously low rate of chemotherapy. The percentage having surgery has increased by 2%, and radiotherapy by 4%.
- 62,000 years of life were lost to cancer in 2010, more than to any other cause. The number of years lost to lung cancer increased by 50% for women since 1995.