Cancer Trends 37 - Breast cancer 1994-2016

Publication date: 
November, 2019
Related staff: 
Dr Katie O'Brien (former staff)
Dr Paul Walsh (former staff)

The latest trends report just published by the National Cancer Registry shows that the rate of new cases of invasive breast cancer in Irish women has stabilised since 2008 and the mortality rate due to breast cancer decreased by about 2% per year in the period 1994-2016.

On average 3,053 invasive breast cancer cases per year were diagnosed in Irish women during 2014-2016

The majority of cases in women are stage II at diagnosis, though the proportion that are diagnosed at stage I has increased over time.

Five-year net survival for female breast cancer patients as a whole has improved markedly over time, from an average (age-standardised) of 70% for diagnosis period 1994-1999 to 85% for 2011-2015. Ten-year survival has also improved markedly, from an average of 61% for diagnosis period 1994-1999 to 76% for 2006-2010.

Incidence rates of breast carcinoma in situ increased over the period 1994-2009 but have stabilised since 2009.

On average 25 invasive breast cancer cases per year were diagnosed in Irish men during 2014-2016. The majority of male cases are also stage II at diagnosis.

Incidence rates for female invasive breast cancer have stabilised following initial rises after rollouts of the organised screening programme. It is encouraging to see that mortality rates showed a consistent downward trend over the past 20+ years. Further work needs to be done to examine the effect of screening on incidence, stage, receptor status and mortality using combined data from the National Cancer Registry and the National Screening Service.

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