Cancer statistics

Read the facts and figures on cancer rates in Ireland, including incidence, survival and mortality.

Cancer incidence

  • One in three people in Ireland will develop cancer during their lifetime.
  • In Ireland an average of 30,000 new cases of cancer are diagnosed each year. The number is expected to rise to over 40,000 per year by 2020.
  • 29,775 people were diagnosed with cancer in 2009, 15,364 men and 14,441 women.

Data sourced from the National Cancer Registry of Ireland (NCRI) (

Most common cancers

The five most common cancers in Ireland are Non melanoma skin cancer (the most common and treatable form of skin cancer), prostate cancer, breast cancer, bowel cancer and lung cancer.

Find out more about the most common cancers and incidence rates amongst men and women in Ireland.

Cancer mortality

  • Cancer accounts for over one-quarter of the annual death toll.
  • Cancer is the second most common cause of death in Ireland.
  • The most recent figures show that 8,585 people died from cancer in 2009. 
  • We sourced this data from the Central Statistics Office.

Cancer survival

Cancer is increasingly viewed as a condition from which people survive.

  • 42% of men and 50% of women diagnosed with cancer currently survive for five years and longer
  • It is estimated that 170,000 people, diagnosed between 1995-2009, have survived their cancer. 

Cancer prevention

Up to 50% of all cancers are preventable, 30% are preventable through lifestyle changes alone.

Cancer and smoking

Smoking is the single biggest cause of cancer, causing 30% of all cancers.

  • 95% of lung cancers are caused by smoking.
  • Cigarettes contain over 4000 chemicals, 60 of which are known to cause cancer.
  • Half of all smokers will die from a tobacco related disease.
  • Research shows that 70% of smokers want to quit.
  • There are over one million smokers in Ireland.

Contact our Cancer Nurseline

Freefone 1800 200 700 to talk to a specialist cancer nurse or email

The Helpline is open Monday-Thursday from 9 am to 6 pm and Friday from 9 am to 5 pm.