More people getting and surviving cancer highlights urgent need to implement National Cancer Strategy
The Irish Cancer Society has today welcomed the latest annual report from the National Cancer Registry which reveals that annually there are more recorded incidences of cancer, but also more survivors, in Ireland than ever before.
More than 40,000 people in Ireland are diagnosed with cancer or a related tumour each year. While sadly around 9,000 people are dying from the disease annually, figures from the report show that there are over 165,000 cancer survivors in Ireland.
Commenting on the report, Donal Buggy, Head of Services and Advocacy at the Irish Cancer Society, said: “While rates of cancer per 100,000 people in Ireland appear to be stabilising, it is important to note that, because of our growing and ageing population, the number of people in Ireland being diagnosed with this disease continues to rise. As such, we are facing into a cancer epidemic. If our health system is not properly equipped to deal with this, our ability to deliver the best outcomes for patients will diminish.
“It is hugely welcome to see that more people are surviving cancer. This is largely due to better treatments and earlier diagnosis through screening and greater public awareness of symptoms. But a cancer diagnosis can have a lasting impact on survivors, from debilitating treatment side-effects to continued mental health issues. Disappointingly, though, such issues have historically been underserved by our health services.
“That is why implementing the National Cancer Strategy in full is so important. The Strategy outlines a comprehensive vision for cancer care in Ireland, which includes increasing the proportion of cancers diagnosed at an earlier stage so that more lives can be saved, and offering cancer survivors a treatment summary and care plan to better communicate and coordinate survivorship care. But this vision requires investment to make it a reality. The Government needs to ensure that resources are frontloaded and made available early in the Strategy to ensure its recommendations are fully implemented.
“While it is important that cancer patients and survivors have the supports to go back to full health and live long and better quality lives, we must not resign ourselves to the idea that incidences of cancer will continue to grow. Four out of ten cancer cases are preventable by making simple lifestyle choices, as outlined in the European Code Against Cancer. We urge the public to please visit www.cancer.ie/europeancode to find out how they can reduce their risk.”