Cancer increases for an ageing populace

Cancer increases for an ageing populace

Prof Kerri Clough-Gorr, Director of the National Cancer Registry and Professor of Cancer Epidemiology at UCC. Picture: Eddie O’Hare

Population growth and ageing will result in more cancer diagnoses in Ireland, a UCC professor has said.

A report published on Monday by the National Cancer Registry shows that the number of cancer cases in Ireland could double by 2045 if current rates continue into the future.

However, the overall increase could be a more modest 50% increase in both sexes if recent trends, including declines, in some cancers continue. Looking at the entire demographic, the report projected a 111% increase in all cancers for males and an 80% increase for females between 2015 and 2045, or a doubling of numbers overall to 43,000. However, looking at the average resulted in an increase of around 50% overall.

Commenting on the findings, Professor Kerri Clough-Gorr, director of the National Cancer Registry and professor of cancer epidemiology at UCC, said: “There is no doubt that population growth and ageing will result in substantial increases in numbers of cancers diagnosed in Ireland over the coming decades, with resultant increases in the demands on cancer healthcare services.

“Potentially, between 2015 and 2045, we could see a doubling of the number of cases diagnosed annually if current cancer rates continue to apply.

“Nevertheless, there are some grounds for optimism,” added Prof Clough-Gorr. “Recent trends in age-standardised cancer incidence rates, which reflect the risk of an individual being diagnosed with cancer, appear to show a levelling-off or even a decline for a range of cancers. If these recent trends continue, increases in numbers of cancers diagnosed may prove to be substantially smaller, but they are still likely to amount to at least a 50% increase by 2045.”

Prof Clough-Gorr said that more limited increase in cancers would depend on sustained and expanded public health and cancer prevention interventions aimed at reducing the risk of cancer diagnosis at the individual and population level.

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