Cancer research ‘critical’ as incidence set to rise 90% in 25 years

Cancers due to rise from 31,330 cases in 2015 to a forecasted 56,000 cases in 2040

Continued research into cancer prevention, early diagnosis and treatment is critical with the incidence of the range of diseases set to rise 90 per cent in the State over the next 25 years, Minister of State John Halligan has said.

Speaking at the Irish Association for Cancer Research (IACR) conference, Mr Halligan said there were 31,330 cancer cases in the State in 2015 and this was forecast to rise to almost 56,000 by 2040.

“We want to increase the five-year survival rate of patients with all cancer types from the current 59 per cent and to ensure that cancer survivors have a high quality of life,” he said. “We know that knowledge derived from research is paramount in providing [an] evidence base for better health policies, practices and systems. ”

New frontiers

Leading researchers from Canada, Italy, France and the US have gathered in Dublin this week to discuss progress in the battle to understand and treat cancers. Prof Clotilde Théry, of the Institute Curie, is to discuss how tumours speak to the immune system, while head of research at the Irish Cancer Society, Dr Robert O'Connor, is to debate the new frontiers in cancer research.

Other discussions at the event will include reports from clinical trials in low-survival cancers, nanomedicine in cancer treatment, cellular stress and cancer and drug development.

President of the IACR Dr Amanda McCann described the quality of cancer research undertaken in Ireland as "unprecedented".

“Our research is internationally recognised as making significant differences to our patients’ journey from diagnosis, through treatment to survivorship,” she said.

The conference will also include a two-way dialogue between cancer researchers and patients entitled Patient Voice in Cancer Research.