Ireland has enjoyed the greatest improvement in cancer survival rates among seven countries, according to a major study that looked at the outcomes for seven different types of cancer.
The study, led by researchers from the International Agency for Research on Cancer, shows increasing cancer survival and progress in cancer control in Australia, Canada, Denmark, Ireland, New Zealand, Norway, and Britain.
Data on more than 3.9m patients with cancer collected by 21 population-based cancer registries in the seven countries over the period 1995-2014 were compared and evaluated.
The greatest improvements observed in survival at five years after diagnosis was for cancers of the colon and rectum.
Between 48% (Ireland, Denmark and Britain) and 59% (Australia) of all patients with rectal cancer diagnosed between 1995 and 1999 survived for five years after diagnosis, the study found.
The survival rate increases from 62% (Ireland and Britain) to 71% (Australia) for patients diagnosed with rectal cancer between 2012 and 2014.
The study, published in The Lancet Oncology shows that survival also increased across the seven countries for cancers with a poorer prognosis, such as cancer of the oesophagus, stomach, lung, and ovary.
Head of research at the Irish Cancer Society, Dr Robert O’Connor, said while Ireland had made the greatest improvement, it had started at a very low base and was still a long way off from the top of the league.
“We really do need to redouble our efforts or we will fall further behind,” he said.
“Our cancer treatment professionals are excellent.
It’s really to do with how they are resourced; how people can get timely access to diagnostics and the support they get after treatment.
“That’s where we need to redouble our efforts.”