Cancer rates among men in Ireland beginning to plateau

However, cancer remains the second most common cause of death in Ireland

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A new report shows that cancer rates among men may be plateauing. 

Rates of the top three cancers in men - prostate, colorectal and lung - are now declining or static. For women, breast cancer rates have decreased since 2008, after a long period of increase from 1994.

Survival rates for cancer have improved by 17% in the last decade, according to the latest report from the National Cancer Registry Ireland (NCRI).

Males and females showed similar patterns of survival improvement over time, although lung cancer survival showed more marked improvements among females. Notable improvements were also seen for colorectal, breast and prostate cancers.

However, cancer remains the second most common cause of death in Ireland, after diseases of the circulatory system. About 8,700 cancer deaths per year occurred between 2011 and 2013. Lung cancer was the most common cause of cancer death, with 21% of the total. The risk of dying of cancer was about 36% higher for men than for women.

Commenting on the figures, Professor Kerri Clough-Gorr, Director of the Registry and Professor of Cancer Epidemiology at University College Cork, said: “Cancer now accounts for over 30% of all deaths in Ireland, and its prevention must be a high public health priority. The incidence trend in male cancers is encouraging, as we no longer see an increase in rates for the three main male cancers.

"Cancer rates in women also seem to have plateaued due to a recent decline in breast cancer, but female lung cancer rates continue to rise, and it is now the second most common major cancer in women."

The annual statistical report from the NCRI is released tomorrow.