Mega lungs
January 7, 2019

Number of lung cancer cases in women could substantially outnumber men in coming years

Irish Cancer Society launches annual lung cancer awareness campaign in a bid to increase early detection of the disease

MEGA lungs exhibit to take place in Dublin later this January

The Irish Cancer Society has said that recent research by the National Cancer Registry of Ireland (NCRI) has shown that lung cancer incidence could double by 2045, with the possibility of substantial increases in the numbers of women being diagnosed with the disease.

As the Irish Cancer Society launches its annual lung cancer awareness campaign, supported by AstraZeneca, Aoife McNamara, Information Development Manager said, “over 2,500 people are diagnosed with lung cancer every year and it is very alarming that these numbers are projected to double over the coming decades.”

The lung cancer numbers, set out in the NCRI Annual Report, suggest that going by population changes alone, cases could double in numbers. However, if increases in female rates and decreases in male rates continue, female cases may substantially outnumber male cases in coming decades with projections showing a 176% increase for female cases.

Ms McNamara continued, “In order to address this increase, we must concentrate now more than ever on detecting lung cancer early. When lung cancer is diagnosed at stage I or II, two-thirds of patients survive at least a year compared with just one-quarter who are diagnosed with a later stage lung cancer. When lung cancer is diagnosed late, treatment options are limited, and survival rates remain very low.

“It’s really important for everyone to know the signs and symptoms of lung cancer and the importance of getting checked out. For example, if a person finds a lump in their breast, they know that they need go to a doctor or a breast clinic straight away. Similarly, if someone has difficulty breathing, is wheezing, or has a persistent cough, it’s really important to talk to a doctor immediately.

“As was set out in the National Cancer Strategy, we must work towards increasing the numbers of people diagnosed early while also developing a specific awareness campaign for lung cancer. I am delighted to announce that the Irish Cancer Society, supported by AstraZeneca, is bringing the MEGA lungs exhibit to Ireland as part of our lung cancer awareness campaign. The MEGA lungs is a pair of giant inflatable lungs which will be coming to Dublin in January and will encourage people to learn more about their lungs and lung health.”

This January, the Irish Cancer Society is also urging people to take its free online lung health checker quiz. This checker also includes a printable summary which can be taken to a GP.

The Irish Cancer Society provides support through its practical and medical services so that no-one has to go through their illness alone. To speak to a cancer nurse on any aspect of cancer, contact the Cancer Nurseline on Freephone 1800 200 700, email or drop into one of 13 Daffodil Centres in hospitals nationwide.