Cancer Trends 30 - Prostate cancer

Publication date: 
December, 2016
Related staff: 
Dr Katie O'Brien (former staff)
Dr Paul Walsh (former staff)
Dr Sandra Deady (former staff)
Mr Eamonn O'Leary (former staff)
PDF icon Prostate cancer trends report322.57 KB

This report summarises trends in incidence, stage, treatment, mortality and survival for prostate cancer in Ireland. On average, 3,364 cases per year were diagnosed during 2012-2014. Following a period of sustained increase in incidence rates from 1994 until 2010, incidence rates have fallen in recent years, by on average 3.9% per year during 2011-2014. The number of cases first presenting asymptomatically via screening (PSA test) continues to rise. The number of men presenting with symptoms has remained largely unchanged, although numbers started declining in 2009, perhaps due to some cancers being picked up by screening, prior to symptoms occurring.

Completeness of staging information has improved over time, with associated increases in T1, T2 and T3 tumours. The numbers of T4 tumours remained relatively flat over the entire period 1994-2014.

The proportion of prostate cancer patients receiving tumour-directed treatment has remained fairly constant over time at about 76%. The use of radiotherapy has increased markedly, from 11% of patients in 1994-2000 to 43% of patients in 2008-2013. The proportion receiving surgery declined over time from 50% in 1994-2000 to 27% in 2008-2013. 

Survival of prostate cancer patients has improved since the 1990s and is relatively high compared to other cancers: five-year net survival averaged 91.1% for 2009-2013 (6.6% for 1994-1998).

Apart from a slight decline in the late 1970’s, mortality rates in Ireland increased steadily from <8 deaths per 100,000 per year in the early 1950’s to approximately 19 deaths per 100,000 per year in the mid 1990’s. Since 1995, the mortality rates have been decreasing by on average 2.7% per year. Comparing Ireland with other European countries in 2012, the difference in incidence and mortality rankings is striking. In terms of incidence rates,  Ireland ranks second highest amongst European Union countries and ranks 12th highest in terms of mortality rates. 

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