About the National Cancer Control Programme

Cancer, its prevention, diagnosis and treatment are a major challenge for our society.  Each year approximately 37,591 people in Ireland develop cancer (NCRI, 2016). Cancer is the second most common cause of death after disease of the circulation such as heart disease and strokes. Over 8,000 deaths from cancer are reported every year.  The National Cancer Control programme was established in response to the second National Cancer Strategy ‘A Strategy for Cancer Control in Ireland 2006’, advised that Ireland needed a comprehensive cancer control policy programme.

Based only on changes in the size and structure of our population, the number of new invasive cancers will increase to 55,992 in 2040. By 2040, the total number of new invasive cancer cases (including non-melanoma skin cancer) is projected to increase by 84% for females and 104% for males, compared to levels recorded in 2010, based only on population and changes in age distribution (demography) (National Cancer Registry, 2015).  The number of patients requiring surgery, radiotherapy and systemic anti-cancer therapy for the treatment of their cancers is expected to grow accordingly.

Cancer control aims to prevent cancer, treat cancer, and increase survival and quality of life for those who develop cancer, by converting the knowledge gained through research, surveillance and outcome evaluation into strategies and actions.

Historically, Ireland has not done as well as it could in the battle against cancer. Evidence has shown that with improved diagnosis and better treatment, more people could be cured of their cancer. In addition, many cancers can be prevented with stronger public health measures in place. The National Cancer Control Programme (NCCP) was set up to reorganize the way cancer care is delivered so that our cancer survival rates would compare more favourably with the best in Europe and the rest of the world. The characteristics of good cancer care are well known. It is important to follow evidence-based guidelines covering the whole patient journey from early detection, diagnosis, treatment, monitoring and end of life care. It is critical to have a range of health professionals working together in teams to plan and deliver care for cancer patients. A focus on cancer prevention is also vital.

In 2006, the second national cancer strategy, A Strategy for Cancer Control in Ireland, advocated a comprehensive cancer control policy programme. This was a whole population, broad approach that dealt with all aspects of cancer in a planned way. It stressed measurement of need and ensuring that high quality cancer care is consistently available to all cancer patients. It aims to continuously monitor and improve the quality of cancer care.

The NCCP was established in 2007 to ensure that all elements of this cancer policy and are delivered to the maximum possible extent. NCCP continues to reorganise cancer services to achieve better outcomes for patients.

If you cannot find the information you need, please contact the National Cancer Control Programme by telephone at 01 8287100 or by e-mail at info@cancercontrol.ie