Irish cancer rate second highest in world

IRELAND has some of the highest cancer rates in the world.

Figures compiled by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF) show Ireland’s cancer rates are continuing to dwarf those in other regions.

According to the findings, based on age-standardised 2008 WHO statistics, at 317 cases per 100,000 people, this country currently has the second highest diagnoses of all forms of cancer out of 50 nations analysed worldwide. These figures put us below only Denmark at 326 cases per 100,000.

In the women-only category Ireland has 285 cases per 100,000 people, placing us as the country with the third highest cancer rate behind Denmark (325) and New Zealand (287).

Among men the figure stands at 356 per 100,000, again placing us in third place behind French metropolitan areas (361) and Australia (361).

Despite improvements in breast cancer treatment and lifestyle-link awareness campaigns in recent years, Ireland is also placed seventh in the list for breast cancer.

Our 94 cases per 100,000 rate leaves this country behind only Belgium (109), Denmark (101), France metropolitan areas (100), The Netherlands (99), Israel (97) and Iceland (94).

The figures compare poorly with nations with healthy lifestyles such as Portugal and Japan,

However, they are similar to those in Britain with its similar culture to Ireland.

Those behind the research have warned the findings add further weight to the belief fatty diets, a lack of exercise and regular alcohol consumption are contributing to the high cancer rates.

The WCRF said the findings also show high-income countries generally have much higher cancer rates than lower income ones.

While this may be down to better diagnosis, high-income countries also have higher rates of obesity, drinking and lower levels of exercise, the group said.

Many cancers are linked to these lifestyle factors, including those of the mouth and larynx, lung, stomach, pancreas, liver, bowel, breast, prostate and kidney.

* Visit www.wcrf-uk.org; The Irish Cancer Society helpline is 1800 200700 or helpline@irishcancer.ie.

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