Ireland moves up global rankings for cancer survival

Sunday marks World Cancer Day which features the theme 'We can. I can'

Ireland moves up global rankings for cancer survival

File photo showing a mammogram | Image: Rui Vieira/PA Archive/PA Images

The Health Minister Simon Harris says cancer survival rates in Ireland have improved significantly, as the world marks World Cancer Day.

Minister Harris has stressed the importance of taking steps, as a society, to prevent cancer.

He says Ireland is making "significant strides" in cancer control.

The latest figures published by The Lancet confirm we are moving up the global rankings, as five-year survival rates for cancer have improved from 44.2% (1994-1998) to 61.1% (2010-2014).

Mr Harris says: "The National Cancer Strategy 2017-2026 aims to ensure that survival rates in Ireland continue to improve and that, over the lifetime of this strategy, Irish survival rates will reach the top quartile in Europe.

"In achieving this we must also ensure that our services meet the needs of those living with and beyond cancer, from diagnosis and treatment to psycho-social support post-treatment.

"I am delighted to see a focus on improving the quality of life for cancer survivors through World Cancer Day".

"The campaign theme for World Cancer Day is 'We can. I can' and highlights the fact that we can all play our part in reducing the burden of cancer."

Health Minister Simon Harris | File photo

He adds: "We can all take small steps to reduce our risk of developing cancer, like the simple changes that the Healthy Ireland campaign is encouraging us all to make.

"Eating more fruit and veg, keeping active, watching our alcohol intake, keeping a healthy weight, and of course, quitting smoking, are all, in fact, cancer prevention in action."

The minister has also announced that the Public Health Alcohol Bill is to return to the Oireachtas this week.

"Reducing alcohol intake is an important step in reducing the burden cancer.

"During the coming week I will bring the Public Alcohol Bill into the Dáil.

"This is a landmark piece of public health legislation, which will make a real difference when it comes to reducing the harm caused by alcohol, and I would appeal to all parties to support it."

Meanwhile Breast Cancer Ireland is encouraging women to download their free app Breast Aware, which sends discreet monthly reminders to women to practice good breast health.

It also offers a simulated video guide on how to perform a self-examination and outlines the eight signs and symptoms to look out for.

It is available on iTunes and Android.

Approximately 20,000 people are diagnosed with invasive cancer in Ireland every year.

Overall, cancer mortality rates decreased between 1994 and 2015 with a 1.5% annual decline in men and 1% decline in women.

Cancer is the second most common cause of death in Ireland after heart disease, with an average of 8,770 deaths annually.