Cancer rates may have plateaued: latest report from the National Cancer Registry

The latest annual report from the National Cancer Registry, Ireland’s premier source of cancer information, suggests that, although the total number of cancers continues to rise, mainly due to the ageing of our growing population, there is some positive news.

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The report shows that for men, the chances of developing cancer, which had been rising steadily since 1994, may have plateaued. Rates of the top three cancers in men (prostate, colorectal and lung), having adjusted for age, are now declining or static. For women too, the rate of the most common of the more serious cancers, breast cancer, has decreased since 2008, after a long period of increase from 1994. About 37,600 new tumours were registered annually in 2012-2014, of which 30,700 were malignant cancers, or 20,800 cancers excluding non-melanoma cancer of the skin, which is the commonest cancer overall but is rarely fatal.

Cancer is the second most common cause of death in Ireland, and about 8,700 cancer deaths per year occurred during 2011-2013. Survival from cancer continues to improve and five-year net survival for all cancers (excluding non-melanoma skin cancer) increased from 44% during 1994-1998 to 51% 1999-2003, 57% 2004-2008 and 61% 2009-2013. At the end of 2014 there were 139,526 persons still alive whose cancer had been diagnosed since 1994, equivalent to 3% of the Irish population. A full copy of the report is available to download here.


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