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National Cancer Registry

Rates of breast cancer, invasive cervical cancer and prostate cancer are increasing in Ireland

Cancer is the second most common cause of death in Ireland.

BETWEEN 2009 – 2011, more than 19,000 invasive cancer cases were diagnosed on average each year in Ireland, with a lifetime risk of one in three for men and one in four for women.

The latest report from the National Cancer Registry shows that there were almost 9,000 deaths from cancer in 2011.

That makes it the second most common cause of death after cardiovascular disease.

During that period 12 per cent of all cancers diagnosed were in people under 40.

The report stated that “All cancer mortality rates in those aged under 39 have declined substantially since 1994, with an annual percentage fall of 2 per cent in both men and women aged 25-39 years”.

Comparing Ireland and the UK

Incidences of female breast cancer is increasing both here and in the UK. However the rate of increase here is almost twice that in the UK.

The report says this is “presumably due to the recent introduction of breast screening in Ireland”.

Invasive cervical cancer frequency is also increasing in Ireland but is decreasing in the UK, where screening is well-established.

Prostate cancer rates in Ireland continue to increase more rapidly than those in the UK.

In 2012, rates here were over 1.5 times higher than in the UK.

The report states that “this is probably due to the widespread use of opportunistic PSA testing in Ireland from the mid  1990s onwards”

Trends in lung cancer incidence here are similar to those in the UK.

Male rates are declining, although less rapidly in Ireland, while female rates are increasing, but more rapidly in Ireland than in the UK.


Survival from all the common cancers improved in Ireland between the periods 1995-1999 and 2000-2007 but there was little change in the ranking of Ireland relative to other European countries.

Survival from cancers of the ovary and kidney remains among the worst in Europe.

For most cancers, five year survival rates in Ireland were fairly similar to those observed in the UK.

Read: Infographic: Here’s how you spot skin cancer>

Read: Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in Ireland and the numbers are rising>

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