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New trends show more women surviving Breast Cancer in Ireland

By: Frances Drummond | Posted on: 07 Nov 2019

New trends show more women surviving Breast Cancer in Ireland

Breast Cancer Numbers


·        The introduction of breast cancer screening (Breastcheck) resulted an increase in age-standardised incidence rate every year between 1994 and 2008.  While breast cancer remains the most commonly diagnosed cancer in women in Ireland, the rate of new cases has stabilised since 2008.

·        Overall, the proportion of cancers diagnosed at an early stage (stage I) has increased, while the number of late stage cancers (stage III and IV) has remained stable (1994-2015).

 Breast Cancer treatment

·        More patients are having breast-conserving surgery (increased from 42% (2000-2007) to 54% (2008-2015)), and less are having mastectomy (43% 2000-2007 to 31% 2008-2015). 

·            More breast cancer patients are having radiotherapy (increased from 51% (1996-1999) to 71% (2008-2015)) or chemotherapy (38% 1996-1999 to 50% 2000-2007, then stabilising or falling slightly to 48% 2008-2015)

Trends report incidence


Breast Cancer Survival

 Survival has improved for all age groups

 The mortality rate due to breast cancer has decreased (2% per year between 1994 and 2016)

o   Women alive 5 years after diagnosis has increased from 7 in 10 women (70%;    1994-1999) to more than 8 in 10 women (85%: 2011-2017) (5-year net age-standardised survival).

o   Women alive 10 years after diagnosis has also increased from 6 in 10 women (61%: 1994-1999) to almost 8 in 10 women (76%: 2006-2010; 10-year age-standardised survival)

The authors of the report conclude that the trend towards decreased mortality are likely due to improvements in treatment quality or specificity, and in proportions of patients treated, over time, in addition to any screening benefits


The full report can be found at


Trends report mortality

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