NI breast cancer survival highest in UK

NI breast cancer survival highest in UK

Northern Ireland has the highest breast cancer survival rates in the UK and Ireland, according to Queen's Northern Ireland Cancer Registry.

The region is also among the highest for melanoma survival in Europe, according to new figures.

The data for Northern Ireland was provided by the Queen's Northern Ireland Cancer Registry to the EUROCARE 5 study.

It analysed survival of over 10 million cancer patients diagnosed between 2000 and 2007 and followed up through 2008.

The research, which was part of a European-wide study into cancer survival rates, found that survival rates for breast cancer in Northern Ireland were 81.9% compared with 79% in the Republic of Ireland, 79.3% in England, 78.2% in Wales and 78.5% in Scotland.

The overall survival rate for breast cancer across Europe is 82.4%.

Skin melanoma survival rates in Northern Ireland were 90.7%, which is 7% higher than the European average - compared with 86.4% in the Republic of Ireland, 85.3% in England, 80% in Wales and 88.8% in Scotland.

We work continuously to raise our standards and keep cancer services here up to modern quality standards - it is particularly encouraging to see that these figures indicate that we have been doing just that.

Health Minister Edwin Poots

The Europe-wide study found that cancer survival rates are improving across Europe but still vary widely between European countries.

Northern Ireland's survival rates for breast, rectum, prostate and non-hodgkins lymphoma are similar to the European average.

Northern Ireland's survival rates for stomach, colon lung, ovary and kidney cancers however are lower than the European average.

Dr Anna Gavin, Director of Queen's Northern Ireland Cancer Registry, said: "While this study shows that cancer survival has improved in Northern Ireland and across Europe there is still a lot of work to be done.

"Survival among the elderly remains poor and late diagnosis is dragging our survival rates down. Survival rates of tobacco related cancers remains very low, and therefore efforts to reduce smoking need to continue.

"Reports like these show the value of data from high quality cancer registries like the one based at Queen's University and funded by the Public Health Agency."

Health Minister Edwin Poots added: "I am delighted to see that the latest cancer survival rates indicate that Northern Ireland is performing very well in terms of UK and European performance, particularly so in terms of breast cancer survival where we have the best rate in the UK and Ireland.

"However there is no room for complacency in meeting the challenge of cancer and I would continue to encourage people to take greater responsibility for their own wellbeing and avoid the lifestyle choices, such as smoking, which increase the risk of cancer.

"It is also important that we should all be vigilant making full use of the screening programmes for breast, cervical and bowel cancer that are available and seeking medical advice at the first signs or symptoms of cancer - early detection is clearly linked to improved outcomes for cancer and we must continue to do all we can to build on this success."


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