Our research is vital because despite significant increases in the numbers of people surviving cancer, there are still between seven and eight thousand people in Ireland who die each year from this disease. That is, despite treatment, they cannot be saved. We urgently need new treatment options to increase the number of people who will survive this diagnosis.
It is an arresting statistic that one in three people will develop cancer in their lifetime. Every person will experience the effects of cancer on someone they know. But it is not an insurmountable challenge and we strongly believe we can have an impact on the statistics presented below.
Below are some facts and figures about the prevalence of cancer in Ireland and the reasons why our research is so vital:
- The number of newly diagnosed cancers in Ireland is increasing by 6-7% annually and the number is likely to double in the next 20 years. This is mainly due to population aging.
- The changing demography of cancer patients is posing challenges in diagnosis and treatment. There are low levels of treatment of the elderly in the Irish population compared to other countries.
- One in three will develop cancer in their lifetime; in fact every year more than 16,000 new people in Ireland are diagnosed with cancer.
- In Ireland based on incidence figures, the commonest cancer is skin (non-melanoma) followed by prostate, breast, colorectal and lung. The largest number of cancer deaths comes as a result of lung cancer.
- Our research aims to understand the challenges facing cancer clinicians and answer them, whether providing new treatment options where existing treatments have stopped working or more tolerable and cost effective treatments to impact the quality of life and survival of all cancer patients.
- As a result of ongoing research there are newly developed treatments and better and earlier detection of cancer. Survival rates for cancer are continuing to rise even though the number of cases being diagnosed is increasing.
- Risk behaviour is also an important factor in understanding the cancer prevalence in Ireland and the steps we can personally take to prevent it:
- Do not smoke.
- Eat at least 5 servings of fresh fruit and vegetables a day.
- Cut down on the amount of fat in your diet.
- Limit the amount of alcohol you drink.
- Try to get at least 30 minutes of exercise every day.
- Women need to examine their breasts once a month, as well as get regular breast examinations, mammograms, and Pap Smears.
- Men should examine their testes regularly.
- Ask your doctor for other specific recommendations, particularly if you have a family history of cancer.
The purpose of cancer research is to provide discovery and innovations that may be applied to the prevention of the cancer in the first place or to the development of more effective treatment strategies. We are driven by the unshakeable belief that the cancer questions can be resolved and that in Ireland we have the capacity to make significant contributions.
*For references of the above statistics, please see the National cancer Registry of Ireland on www.ncri.ie.