Date: 
January 9, 2017

Huge rise in liver cancer rates show need to Get Cancer through reducing our risk

The startling increase in the number of people diagnosed with liver cancer in Ireland highlights the urgent need for us all to Get Cancer by reducing our risk of contracting this devastating disease, the Irish Cancer Society has said.

Latest figures from the National Cancer Registry of Ireland (NCRI) show a 300% rise in liver cancer diagnoses in Ireland in the past two decades. The average number of new cases each year has gone from 60 in the mid-1990s to more than 270 in 2014.

Of those diagnosed, less than one in five survive their disease for five years or more. In 2013, 306 people in Ireland died from liver cancer, compared an average of just 40 people per year in the late 1990s.

The NCRI point to high alcohol consumption in recent decades as one of the biggest reasons for this four-fold increase.

Commenting on the figures, Irish Cancer Society Head of Research Dr Robert O’Connor said:

“Alcohol is the cause of around 900 incidences of cancer in Ireland each year, and 500 of these patients will die of their disease. Overall, one in ten of all cancers in men and one in thirty-three in women are caused by alcohol.

“Liver cancer is one of seven cancer types of which can be caused by alcohol. The high incidence rates of the disease Ireland is currently experiencing is a result of decades of people in Ireland simply drinking too much.

“One in five of all alcohol-related deaths are due to cancer. But our consumption of alcohol is increasing – in 2010 it was 145% higher than the average amount drank in 1960. Irish people drink more than the European average, which stands at 11 litres of pure alcohol per person per year.

“It’s time that Irish people Get Cancer by addressing its causes and tackling them head-on. Even a small decrease in alcohol consumption can reduce your risk of developing cancer.”

4 out of 10 cancers can be prevented. By eating healthily, watching our weight and alcohol intake, taking regular exercise, not smoking and getting young people vaccinated against HPV, the Irish public can Get Cancer by lowering our risk of contracting this devastating disease. 

To speak to a cancer nurse on any aspect of cancer contact our Cancer Nurseline on Freephone 1800 200 700, email cancernurseline@irishcancer.ie or drop into one of our 13 Daffodil Centres in hospitals nationwide.