Press Release

Ministers Martin and de Brún welcome All-Ireland Report on Cancer

The first collaborative report of the two cancer registries in the island of Ireland has been published today (1st May 2001). It is the result of a concerted effort of data harmonisation and analysis, and documents similarities and differences in cancer patterns on an all-Ireland basis.

Welcoming the report, Ms Bairbre de Brún MLA, Minister for Health, Social Services and Public Safety, and Mr Micheál Martin TD, Minister for Health and Children said: “After heart disease and stroke, cancers kill more people on this island every year than any other cause. The report shows that one in three of us are likely to contract some form of cancer by age 74. Many cancer deaths are avoidable: in particular, lung cancer, which accounts for a quarter of cancer deaths. We cannot emphasise too strongly the importance of stopping smoking, which is responsible for the majority of lung cancers and many other cancers besides.”

Dr Richard Klausner, Director of the U.S. National Cancer Institute said: “This report is among the first major initiatives to come out of the year old Ireland – Northern Ireland – National Cancer Institute Cancer Consortium. It holds real promise for the future co-operation between both health departments and the United States to enhance cancer research, treatment and care on the island.”

The Report reveals that:

  • Lung cancer accounted for one in four cancer deaths in men, one in five overall.
  • Urban populations had higher rates of cancer: 10% for females, 15% for males.
  • There is a 1-in-3 chance of developing cancer by age 74; 1 in 4 if skin cancer is excluded.
  • Age-standardised cancer incidence rates were 30% higher in men than in women.
  • Age-standardised cancer mortality rates were almost 50% higher in men than women.
  • Females had a 1-in-8 chance, males a 1-in-6 chance of dying of cancer by age 74.
  • Breast cancer accounted for one in five cancer deaths in women.

Congratulating the reports´ authors, the Ministers added: “This report is the result of a major collaborative effort between the two Registries North and South in partnership with the US National Cancer Institute. It is an excellent example of cooperation between expert organisations. It gives us strong pointers for future action to help prevent cancer, improve care and treatment services, and strengthen research arrangements on the island.”

Dr Jane Wilde, Director of the Institute of Public Health in Ireland said: “combining the data sets of the two Cancer Registries allows us to identify where similar patterns exist and where differences occur. The comparison is important. It provides a significant step in developing research which will help our understanding of the causes of cancer and what improves survival; point to the possibilities for prevention; assist in the planning and establishing of screening services; and improve the quality of services for treatment and care.”

The Ireland-Northern Ireland – NCI Cancer Consortium have established a web site ( for public access to the activities and opportunities presented by the Consortium.

Address by Micheál Martin TD at launch of All Ireland Cancer Statistics Report