Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 20 April 2014

Cancer diagnosis numbers on the rise in Northern Ireland

The number of people being diagnosed with cancer in Northern Ireland has now reached around 8,700 cases per year
The number of people being diagnosed with cancer in Northern Ireland has now reached around 8,700 cases per year

Twenty-five people are diagnosed with cancer every day in Northern Ireland, shock new statistics have revealed.

The number of people being told they have the disease in the UK each year has hit more than 330,000 for the first time, according to the latest figures.

The statistics revealed to the Belfast Telegraph by Cancer Research UK show, in Northern Ireland, the number of people being diagnosed with cancer has now reached around 8,700 cases per year.

This is a rise of around 200 cases compared to the year before.

From 2009-2010, around 8,500 people – 24 people a day – were receiving a diagnosis.

In 2002, around 8,200 were being diagnosed.

The figures also reveal that, in Northern Ireland, overall rates of people being diagnosed with cancer have climbed by around a tenth between 1993 and 2011. In 1993, around 370 per 100,000 were diagnosed with the disease.

This increased to almost 405 per 100,000 in 2011.

Overall UK figures show 331,487 people were diagnosed with cancer in 2011, rising from 329,547 in 2010.

In 2001 there were 283,000 cases diagnosed, which means there has been an increase of nearly 50,000 over 10 years.

Cancer experts say this increase is partly because of risk factors such as drinking alcohol, smoking and being overweight.

However, the main reason for the increase in cases is the ageing population – as there are more people living longer, more will develop the disease.

Although more people than ever are being diagnosed with cancer, research has led to more people surviving the disease.

Survival has doubled in the last 40 years due to improvements in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancer.

The figures are released as Cancer Research is hoping women will be inspired to sign up for its flagship Race For Life event in Belfast, with the website for the June 1 event open from today.

Sarah Williams, health information officer at Cancer Research UK, said: "We already know that not smoking, cutting down on alcohol, getting plenty of fruit and veg and staying active can reduce the risk of developing cancer. Keeping a healthy weight will help to reduce your risk of cancer, so try and be physically active and eat a healthy balanced diet with plenty of fruit and veg and fibre, and cut back on red or processed meat, saturated fat, and salt.

"It's also important that we do everything we can to improve the early diagnosis of cancer, because spotting cancer early improves the chances of survival."

Director of the Northern Ireland Cancer Registry, Dr Anna Gavin, said people needed to change their lifestyles.

"We could actually reduce our numbers of cancer or keep them steady even with the ageing population if we were to tackle tobacco and obesity," she said.

"Lung cancer has a poor outlook. While the levels are falling in men they are not falling in women, and we really need to be encouraging people to keep up their New Year resolution and stop smoking."

Ms Williams added: "The good news is that people are now twice as likely to survive cancer as they were 40 years ago, and Cancer Research UK's work has been at the heart of this progress."

Most common forms of cancer found in Northern Ireland

1 Breast cancer Around 1,300 cases in women each year in Northern Ireland and around 340 deaths each year

2 Bowel cancer There are around 1,200 cases each year here and around 410 deaths each year

3 Lung cancer Around 1,100 cases each year and around 910 deaths each year

4 Prostate cancer Around 1,000 cases each year and around 230 deaths each year

5 Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma

Around 340 cases and around 130 deaths each year

Further reading

Prostate cancer link to plastics chemical 

Low exercise 'risks female cancer'

Cancer of gullet death rates double

Scientists vote potential cancer treatment revolution breakthrough of the year

10,000 children living with cancer

Cancer drug availability urged

Dual drug 'fights breast cancer'

Gut microbes 'link to bowel cancer'

Breast cancer survival best in UK

Bowel cancer blood test hailed 

Stormont in the pink for annual race

Thousands of women have in the past come out in support of the life-saving work of Cancer Research UK for the annual Race For Life event.

In 2013 more than 6,500 women turned Stormont Estate into a sea of pink.

This year the charity is hoping to attract even more runners on June 1 and help raise thousands of pounds for the vital research they carry out.

Cancer survivors, women fighting the disease and those running in memory of a friend, colleague or loved one have taken part in the inspirational annual 5km event.

While all make an effort to wear pink, touchingly many participants also wear tributes to someone special who has been affected by cancer.

Cancer Research UK's spokeswoman in Northern Ireland Jean Walsh said: "We are very grateful to everyone who took part in Race For Life at Stormont last year and in the past.

"Thanks to them Cancer Research UK has been able to make progress against many forms of the disease. But the battle against cancer never stops and for this reason we need everyone to return to the fight in 2014, sign up for Race For Life and bring new recruits with them."

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