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File photo of a CT scan room in a cancer treatment ward. Alamy Stock Photo
National Cancer Registry

Number of people living after invasive cancer diagnosis exceeds 200,000 for the first time

It’s equivalent to 1 in 24 of the population and equates to a 50% increase in the number of cancer survivors when compared to a decade ago.

FOR THE FIRST time in Ireland, the number of patients living after an invasive cancer diagnosis has exceeded 200,000.

The “notable milestone” of 207,364 is equivalent to 1 in 24 of the population and equates to a 50% increase in the number of cancer survivors when compared to a decade ago.

The figures are contained in the National Cancer Registry’s 2022 Annual Statistical Report and the organisation said it reflects “the ongoing improvement in cancer survival”.

This figure includes patients still undergoing active treatment or palliative treatment, in addition to longer-term survivors (either cured or potentially at risk of recurrence or relapse).

The 2022 report summarises data collected up to 2020, and reveals that the Covid-19 pandemic resulted in a 10% reduction in cancer diagnoses when compared to what would have been expected in that year.

The National Cancer Registry said this is reduction is “likely a result of pandemic-related impacts on health-seeking behaviour among the public and disruptions to cancer control services”.

Analysis on the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic on cancer diagnoses and outcomes during 2021 is already underway for the 2023 report.

On average, 43,470 cancers or related tumours were diagnosed each year during 2018-2020.

While the report notes that the median age at diagnoses and death varies “markedly across cancer types”, the median age for all invasive cancers combine was 69 in men and 67 in women during 2018-2020.

The National Cancer Registry said there has been little change in these figures.

The median age of death for the same cancers was 74 in both men and women, an increase when compared with the median age of 72 in both men and women during 1994-1998.

The report noted that these figures are “consistent with improved cancer survival”.

Around 30% of deaths in Ireland each year are attributable to cancer, and lung cancer is still the leading cause of cancer death.

This is followed by breast and bowel cancer in females, and prostrate and bowel cancer in males.

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