Belfast Telegraph

Cancer 'caused 44% of 2011 deaths'

Cancer was responsible for almost half of all deaths in Ireland last year, a study suggests.

Analysis of almost 2,000 payouts on life cover during 2011 shows 44% were because of the disease. Two-thirds of all claims for serious illness during the same period were also for cancer, said Irish Life.

Breast cancer was the most prevalent, followed by prostate and colon cancers.

The figures follow a warning over the weekend by the World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF) that new cases of cancer in Ireland could rocket 72% by 2030.

The Irish Life study also revealed almost a fifth (18%) of its death claims were linked to heart disease, the next largest single factor after cancer.

Accidents accounted for 11%, with four in 10 of those involving people under the age of 40. Alcohol was a factor in one in seven accident claims.

Martin Duffy, the company's head of claims, said the figures underlined the continuing threat of cancer in Ireland.

"While we've made enormous progress, the reality is that cancer continues to be a dominant cause of illness and death in Ireland," he said.

The WCRF revealed on Saturday that Ireland was the worst of 27 countries in the European Union for cancer. Cases are predicted to rise from 19,454 in 2008 to 33,416 in 18 years.

A league table showed Cyprus ranked a distant second with a 55% expected rise, followed by Luxembourg with 53%. The UK ranks 16th on the list, where cases of the illness are expected to rise by 30%.

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