Rising cancer numbers a wake-up call: Irish Cancer Society

New figures showing rising cancer numbers in Ireland should serve as wake-up call, according to the Irish Cancer Society.

Latest numbers released today by the National Cancer Registry Ireland reveal that almost 45,000 new cancers and related tumours are now detected annually in Ireland, with the disease claiming over 9,000 lives every year.

The updated figures come amid an extraordinarily difficult year for those affected by cancer, during which the lack of resilience in the health system was exposed and patients experienced increased levels of stress and worry due to disrupted services during the pandemic.

Rachel Morrogh, Irish Cancer Society Director of Advocacy, said: “This latest report shows that cancer continues to be the leading cause of death in Ireland, with the number of cases expected to as much as double in the next 25 years. The cancer system must be properly resourced now to ensure it can meet this increased demand for services.

“While it is encouraging to see that almost two-thirds of men and women will survive a cancer diagnosis, we need to continue to make progress and improve survival rates for all cancers. It is notable that Ireland’s ranking for breast cancer survival did not improve between 2000 and 2014 and that Ireland was positioned in the bottom half of the survival league table during this period. This is a cancer that affects over 3,000 people every year.

“Similarly, no progress was made during the same period regarding Ireland’s survival ranking for colorectal cancer. We need to understand why this was and ensure that we accelerate progress for these and other cancers, so that in Ireland, the patients of the future are given the same chance of surviving their cancer as those in other European countries.

“We need to be bold and ambitious in our response to these trends, and that means committing to improving every level of cancer care in Ireland. From diagnostics and treatment right through to end-of-life care, giving people the best possible chance of avoiding a diagnosis, and delivering world-class care for those going through treatment and its aftermath.

“It is more essential than ever that the public be made aware of the actions they can take to improve their chances of avoiding a cancer diagnosis, and the massive personal toll it can take as well as the broader financial costs.”

Read the latest NCRI annual report here