Cancer projections 2005 – 2035

The latest report from the National Cancer Registry released today shows some interesting trends in cancer incidence in Ireland. The number of newly diagnosed cancers is increasing by 6-7% annually and this is likely to double in the next 20 years.

Statistically significant increases in rate for all invasive cancers have occurred for both sexes over the period 1994-2006. During this period the increases for women were for lung cancer, gynaecological cancers, cancers of the kidney, and skin cancers (including melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancer). For men the increases were for melanoma of skin and lymphoma.

 Between 2005 and 2035 the overall numbers of invasive cancers is projected to increase by 6% annually for females and by 7% annually for males. This includes non-melanoma skin cancers. By 2020-2025 the number of lung cancers in women is expected to exceed the number in men and decisive action needs to be taken in order to deal with this problem. Most of the projected increase is attributable to expected demographic change. As the older male population is expected to increase more rapidly for men than for the corresponding female population, numbers of almost all cancers are expected to increase more rapidly for men than for women.

 The clear improvements in cancer survival seen over the last twenty years and our improving life expectancy will contribute to continuing falls in mortality, despite an increase in burden, but will not result in an increasing number of ageing cancer survivors in the population.

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