herald

Friday 15 December 2017

Cancer timebomb: Ireland racing to top of cancer league

GRIM: Sick Ireland racing to top of the Euro cancer league with cases set to soar by 72pc

IRELAND is facing a cancer timebomb with Euro health experts predicting our cancer rates could rise by as much as 72pc by 2030.

The grim prediction has been disputed by the Irish Cancer Society -- it believes the figures are even worse.

The World Cancer Research Fund, releasing figures to mark World Cancer Day today says we will have 35,500 new cases a year by 2030, propelling this country to the top of the cancer league for 27 EU states. The Irish Cancer Society says the figure will hit 40,000 a year within eight years. Smoking, diet, obesity and lifestyle are being blamed by all groups for our rise to the top of the cancer league table.

The figures have been described as a "wake-up call" by Fianna Fail health spokesman Billy Kelleher.

Irish Cancer Society Communications manager Grainne O'Rourke says we already have 30,000 cases a year and this is set to rise by another 10,000 by 2020.

"Cancer is a disease of ageing and affluence," says Ms O'Rourke. "As we live longer, the cancer number increase and it is also a disease of affluent countries."







Combat

Mr Kelleher, who recently tabled a Bill to have calorie values included on menus to help combat obesity, said: "Unfortunately no one working in the health area will be surprised by the very unfortunate statistics, but hopefully they will stimulate debate."

The league table, compiled by WCRF put Ireland with a 72pc increase in cancers by 2030 in pole position -- way ahead of Cyprus, in second place at 55pc, Luxembourg at 53pc and the UK in 16th place with a 30pc rise. Grainne O'Rourke stressed that people could do a lot to cut these predictions with lifestyle changes.

"Research shows that 42pc of the risk of getting cancer can be reduced by a healthy diet. Smoking causes 30pc of all cancers and 90pc of lung cancers, and this risk could be hugely reduced by not smoking.

"People have to start looking at their own behaviour," she said.

Mr Kelleher stressed the need for a long-term strategy to deal with the health issues behind cancer. Other countries had made leaps to healthy living which had improved overall health and longevity.

"We need to get involved in prevention programmes. I am not a purist, but as a society it's quite clear need to make changes to the way we live our lives."

The WCRF figures are based on information from the World Health Organisation but the Irish Cancer Society statistic are based on the Irish National Cancer Registry.

According to the WCRF Ireland is expected to see a 91pc hike in cancer cases among the over-65s, compared with 48pc among the same age group in the UK.

Cancer among the under-65s in Ireland has been predicted to increase 49pc, compared with a UK rise of 9pc.

Eastern European countries were lowest on the cancer table with a predicted increase in Bulgaria of just 2.2pc followed by Latvia at 8.8pc.

csheehy@herald.ie

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