Cancer in Ireland 1994 – 2011

A new report 'Cancer in Ireland 1994 - 2011' has been released by the National Cancer Registry.

The latest report from the National Cancer Registry shows that more than 19,000 invasive cancer cases were diagnosed on average each year in the period 2009-2011, with a lifetime risk of 1 in 3 for men and 1 in 4 for women. There were almost 9,000 deaths from cancer in 2011, making it the second most common cause of death after cardiovascular disease.

Cancer in young people

12% of all cancers diagnosed in 2009-2011 were in people under 40. The commonest cancer in those aged under 15 was leukaemia. In men, testis was the commonest site of cancer in those aged 15-24 while non-melanoma cancer of skin was the most common cancer in those aged 25-39. In situ cancer of the cervix was the commonest cancer in women in both the 15 to 24 and 25 to 39 year age groups. The high incidence of both in situ and invasive cervical cancer in young women is due to opportunistic and, more recently, organised cervical cancer screening activity.

All-cancer mortality rates in those aged 0-39 have declined substantially since 1994, with an annual percentage fall of 2% in both men and women aged 25-39 years.

Trends in Ireland and UK

Trends in lung cancer incidence in Ireland were broadly similar to those in the UK. Male rates are declining, although less rapidly in Ireland, while female rates are increasing, but more rapidly in Ireland than in the UK. Melanoma incidence is increasing rapidly in both Ireland and the UK; both countries had higher incidence rates than the EU average in 2012. The incidence of female breast cancer is increasing in both Ireland and the UK; the rate of increase in Ireland is almost twice that in the UK, presumably due to the recent introduction of breast screening in Ireland. Invasive cervical cancer incidence is increasing in Ireland but is decreasing in the UK, where screening is well-established. Prostate cancer incidence rates in Ireland continue to increase more rapidly than those in the UK and, in 2012, were over 1.5 times higher than in the UK. This is probably due to the widespread use of opportunistic PSA testing in Ireland from the mid 1990s onwards.

Cancer survival

Survival from all the common cancers improved in Ireland between the periods 1995-1999 and 2000-2007, but there was little change in the ranking of Ireland relative to other European countries. The exception to this was non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, survival from which ranked 20th in Europe in 1995-1999 but 9th in 2000-2007. Survival from cancers of the ovary and kidney remains among the worst in Europe. For most cancers, 5 year survival rates in Ireland were fairly similar to those observed in the UK.

The full report is available on the National Cancer Registry website:


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