This year’s report indicates that there is some levelling off and even improvement in cancer rates for the top cancers in men and women. Although the news is not all good (e.g. lung cancer in women continues to increase) it is welcomed news for Ireland. It indicates that the complex mix of factors that influence cancer (e.g. lifestyle, early detection, treatment, access to healthcare, adequate healthcare services) are having a positive effect.
Importantly the data also show that cancer is no longer just about incidence and mortality. It is very much a story about survival. Cancer is a journey that often extends long beyond diagnosis and initial treatment, just ask any of the nearly 140,000 survivors here in Ireland. We at NCRI need to be better positioned with expanded data collection (e.g. disease free survival, recurrence, multiple primaries, full treatment course) to inform on the true long-term impact of cancer in Ireland. Another key message in this year’s report is that population ageing will bring more diagnoses and survivors over the coming years. This increase in the number of cancer patients will upsurge healthcare demand, which can and should be adequately planned for beforehand by policy makers. National cancer monitoring at NCRI has an important role to play in the Irish cancer experience in coming years.
A very special thanks to Joe McDevitt and Paul Walsh for their efforts preparing the report! Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all.