More people are surviving after cancer diagnosis: latest report from the National Cancer Registry

The latest annual report from the National Cancer Registry indicates that, although rates of cancer (taking account of age and population size) appear to have stabilised or even fallen recently, numbers of cancers diagnosed continue to rise annually, mainly due to ageing and growth of our population. In combination with ongoing improvements in survival for most cancer types, this has resulted in a growing numbers of cancer survivors among the general population.

Incidence graph from annual report 2017

Based on available data up to 2015, it is estimated 33,180 invasive cancers, or 22,320 cancers excluding the generally non-fatal non-melanoma cancers of skin, were diagnosed annually during 2015-2017. Total numbers of cancers diagnosed annually continue to increase, albeit more slowly in recent years, as the population grows and ages. However, incidence rates of cancer expressed per 100,000 persons (adjusted for age and population changes) have stabilized or even fallen slightly since about 2010 or 2011, following earlier periods of sustained increase from 1994 onwards.

Cancer is still the second most common cause of death in Ireland, and an average of 8,770 cancer deaths per year occurred during 2012-2014.  However, overall cancer mortality rates (adjusted for age and population) have continued to fall since 1994, as have mortality rates for most individual cancers.

Reflecting these trends in cancer incidence, mortality and survival, but also population growth and improvements in life expectancy among the general population, the numbers of cancer survivors continues to grow. The report estimates that there were over 167,000 survivors of cancer still alive at the end of 2015 (excluding non-melanoma skin cancer), equivalent to 3.6% of the Irish population

A full copy of the report is available to download here (see here for a summary of the report).

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