World Cancer Day: Survival rates rising; Appeal for everyone to reduce risk

Today marks World Cancer Day and charities and health authorities are using the occasion to raise awareness of the illness.

Health Minister Simon Harris has also stressed the importance of taking steps, as a society, to prevent cancer.

Minister Harris said Ireland was making significant strides in cancer control and pointed out the latest figures published by The Lancet confirm as a nation we are moving up the global rankings with cancer survival rates improving significantly.

"Five-year survival rates for cancer have improved from 44.2% (1994-1998) to 61.1% (2010-2014) and the National Cancer Strategy 2017-2026 aims to ensure that survival rates in Ireland continue to improve and that, over the lifetime of this Strategy, Irish survival rates will reach the top quartile in Europe.

"In achieving this we must also ensure that our services meet the needs of those living with and beyond cancer, from diagnosis and treatment to psycho-social support post-treatment. I am delighted to see a focus on improving the quality of life for cancer survivors through World Cancer Day”

The Minister has also announced that the Public Health Alcohol Bill is to return to the Oireachtas this week.

Minister Harris said “The campaign theme for World Cancer Day is “We can. I can” and highlights the fact that we can all play our part in reducing the burden of cancer.

"The day has a particular focus on prevention and survivorship, which is reflected in our own National Cancer Strategy, which was published last year. We can all take small steps to reduce our risk of developing cancer, like the simple changes that the Healthy Ireland campaign is encouraging us all to make.

"Eating more fruit and veg, keeping active, watching our alcohol intake, keeping a healthy weight, and of course, quitting smoking, are all, in fact, cancer prevention in action.

“Reducing alcohol intake is an important step in reducing the burden cancer. During the coming week I will bring the Public Alcohol Bill into the Dáil. This is a landmark piece of public health legislation, which will make a real difference when it comes to reducing the harm caused by alcohol, and I would appeal to all parties to support it.”

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