News from the Director's office - January 2018

Happy belated New Year! The beginning of 2018 is an exciting time at NCRI. We are in the throes of the first ever NCRI organisational review. I’m grateful to the NCRI Board and DoH for supporting this activity, which is vital to setting NCRI strategy moving forward.

Over the 25 years since NCRI’s inception much has changed. The disease we register has evolved from acute to chronic. Thanks to earlier diagnosis, ever improving and targeted treatments the patient experience has transformed from one of short survival to ever increasing survival. Simultaneously the healthcare system has migrated from dispersed to centralised cancer care, entirely paper-based to one dominated by electronic data sources. What remains unchanged, however, is the need for high quality population-based information on the cancer experience in Ireland as reflected in the DoH National Cancer Strategy (

NCRI is at a junction. If our mission broadly speaking, is to capture the cancer patient experience, then NCRI will need to make some changes. We will first need to decide if NCRI will remain as is capturing cancer patient information focused on incidence and mortality or instead tap into our potential to capture the true patient experience (e.g. longer follow-up with full treatment and patient outcomes over care pathways and survivorship). Our organisational review will help us determine which path NCRI will follow into the future. Either path is viable for NCRI. The former would require adaptation of current processes to increase accuracy and timeliness of existing data in an electronically dominated setting. The latter would require retooling NCRI to align with the objectives of the National Cancer Control Strategy.

We look forward to an exciting year, working with the NCRI Board, DoH and the National Cancer Control Programme charting NCRI’s path forward.

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