Risk of Irish men and women developing cancer levels off

Lifestyle changes linked to static rates but almost 38,000 still diagnosed every year

One in three men, and one in four women, will get invasive cancer during their lifetime. Illustration: Sciepro/SPL/Getty

One in three men, and one in four women, will get invasive cancer during their lifetime. Illustration: Sciepro/SPL/Getty

 

The chance of Irish men and women developing cancer has plateaued after over 20 years of continuous growth, a new report suggests.

The rates of the top three cancers for men – prostate, colo-rectal and lung – are now declining or static, according to the latest annual report from the National Cancer Registry.

For women, the rate of the most serious form of the disease, breast cancer, has been decreasing since 2008, after a long period of increase from 1994.

And while the number of new cases continues to increase as the population ages, the number of new cancer cases has slowed since 2011, especially for men.

The report cites changes in smoking rates, alcohol consumption and diet as possible factors contributing to the improved figures for certain specific cancers.

Survival rates

Six out of ten people will now survive at least five years after diagnosis, up from 44 per cent in the 1990s.

A majority of patients will survive 10 years – 58 per cent of men and 54 per cent of women. Ten-year survival rates range from 96 per cent for testicular cancer to 7.5 per cent for pancreatic cancer.

However, the incidence of cancer among Irish men is 10 per cent higher than the EU average – mostly because prostate cancer diagnoses are 52 per cent higher.

The male death rate is slightly lower than the EU average, thanks to lower death rates from lung cancer.

The chances of Irish women getting cancer is 16 per cent above the EU average, because of a higher incidence of lung, ovarian, breast and colo-rectal cancer.

The death rate for women is 13 per cent higher than in the rest of Europe.

Almost 38,000 people are diagnosed with cancer each year, and 8,700 people die of the disease.

Cancer is the second most common cause of death, accounting for 30 per cent of deaths, after circulatory system diseases.

One in three men, and one in four women, will be diagnosed with invasive cancer at some point during their lifetime.

The risk of dying from the disease is one in eight for men and one in 10 for women.