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An increase in young women smoking has been blamed for a significant increase in lung cancer in females. ALESSANDRO DELLA BELLA/Keystone Switzerland/Press Association Images

Cancer cases rise almost 50 per cent since the 1990s

The number of cancer cases has almost doubled since the mid-1990s, with lung cancer on the increase among young women. However survival rates have also improved.

THE NUMBER OF cancer cases has almost doubled in Ireland since the nineties – although survival rates have also improved – according to newly released figures.

The National Cancer Registry’s annual report shows a rise of almost 50 per cent in cancer diagnoses since the mid-nineties, when data on cancer in Ireland was first collected on a national basis.

However survival rates have also improved since data was first collected; patients can now expect a 50 per cent chance of living for five years following a diagnoses, while that stood a 40 per cent in the nineties.

The report shows that lung cancer rates are rising among women, with a four per cent increase each year. Lung cancer has now overtaken breast cancer as the type of cancer most likely to cause death for females - outnumbering breast cancer deaths in women by six per cent.

Lung cancer is showing a particular increase in women under 55 years of age, which has been blamed on more young women smoking.

The rate of lung cancer among men is falling slightly and, while slowly improving, survival rates remain low for both sexes.

Bowel, lung, breast, prostate and non-melanoma skin cancer combined accounted for more than two-thirds of all cases of cancer in Ireland, according to the report.
When compared to incidence and mortality rates in other European countries, overall cancer incidence in Ireland was high – however cancer mortality rates were closer to the EU average.

The cumulative lifetime risk of developing invasive cancer (excluding non-melanoma skin cancer) was approximately 1 in 3 for men and 1 in 4 for women.

Read the full report: Cancer in Ireland 2011: Annual report of the National Cancer Registry>

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