Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 23 August 2014

NI cancer cases rise by a third

Reducing tobacco use can make lung cancer a preventable disease, according to the lead researcher

The number of people diagnosed with cancer each year in Northern Ireland has increased by almost a third, figures showed.

There were an average 8,300 new cases of cancer (4,250 in men and 4,100 in women) confirmed every year between 2007 and 2011 - a significant rise on the 6,300 between 1993 and 1997. Researchers at Queen's University said the spike was primarily down to the ageing population.

Dr Anna Gavin, director of Queen's Northern Ireland Cancer Registry, said: "We all need to do what we can to raise awareness of this increased risk by talking to our older friends and family members and encouraging them to go to their GPs when they first notice anything out of the ordinary."

Survival rates have improved by almost 10% with more than half of patients (51%) living for a further five years after their diagnosis, compared with 42% in the 1990s.

The statistics also reveal that cancer levels vary in different social groups. A large proportion of the difference is due to lung cancers caused by smoking. Lung cancer rates were almost three times higher in deprived areas - 80 out of 100,000, as opposed to 30 out of 100,000 in non-deprived areas.

Dr Gavin said: "Lung cancer is a preventable disease if tobacco use was reduced. The release has shown a fall in numbers among men but not among women.

"If the lung cancer incidence rates of the most deprived areas were the same as in the least deprived, there would be 180 fewer cases of lung cancer in women and 220 fewer cases in men diagnosed each year.

"Between 2002 and 2006, 51% of patients diagnosed survived five years or more, compared with 41.6% of patients diagnosed between 1993 and 1996."

Dr Gavin said: "In another study just last week we revealed that only 11% of those surveyed in Northern Ireland were aware that cancer risk is generally much higher among older people.

"We all need to do what we can to raise awareness of this increased risk by talking to our older friends and family members and encouraging them to go to their GPs when they first notice anything out of the ordinary."

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