News from the Director's office - November 2017

The news this month is all about the NCRI Annual Report with special thanks to Joe McDevitt and Paul Walsh. The annual report is the most comprehensive NCRI publication regularly produced. It takes months of effort to generate. The bulk of the report’s work is the result of Joe’s dedication and expertise with specific contributions from Paul – Thank you both!

The findings this year are generally good news for cancer patients in Ireland. The report indicates a majority of cancer rates are continuing to stabilise or even fall. However, the number of cancers diagnosed continues to rise annually, mainly due to demographics (population growth & ageing). Ongoing improvements in survival for most cancer types, has resulted in a growing number of cancer survivors among the general population.

This year’s report underscores the need to prioritise cancer care for Ireland’s future. Adequate resources for increased numbers of people being diagnosed with cancer will need to be included in the systemic provision of healthcare. Also key will be planning for the long-term support and follow-up care of cancer survivors, as recognised by the recently published National Cancer Strategy 2017-2026.

The growing number of cancer survivors also calls to attention the paucity of cancer follow-up data available in Ireland. NCRI is the authoritative source of population-based cancer information.  If we are to keep up with the improvements in cancer care and report relevant information, we will need to expand the data we collect. The information NCRI provides to the nation should reflect the patient experience in Ireland. Since cancer is increasingly considered a chronic disease, NCRI’s data needs to go beyond diagnosis and first treatment to capture survivorship. The Department of Health will need to support this strategic outlook in order to facilitate more relevant population-based cancer information for the future.

Finally, and certainly no less importantly, it’s crucial to remember that the Annual Report would not be possible without contributions from all NCRI’s superb staff. Although Joe and Paul take on the major responsibility for producing the report, there would be no report without data (our Data Managers & CDRs) and the NCRI infrastructure (Administration, Human Resources & IT staff). Good work NCRI team!

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