13th May 2022
One in two people in Ireland will develop cancer at some point in their lives. If cancer is diagnosed early, it is easier to treat and there is a better chance of recovery. The HSE NCCP urges people to know the signs and act early on potential symptoms of cancer.
According to Dr Heather Burns, Specialist in Public Health Medicine: “If cancer is found early, before it has grown bigger or spread to other parts of the body, it’s easier to treat and there is a better chance of curative treatment and long term survival. Stage at diagnosis is the most important determinant of survival for most major tumour types. Increasing the proportion of cancers diagnosed at an early stage (Stage I or II) is a key step in improving cancer survival in Ireland.”
Dr Una Kennedy, who is a GP based in Glasnevin and also works as GP Advisor to the HSE NCCP, said:
“We are urging members of the public to know the signs and symptoms of cancer and call your GP today if you notice any changes or something different for you. If you notice symptoms such a new cough lasting for more than three weeks, breathlessness more than is normal for you, a new or changing lump, unexplained weight loss or unexplained bleeding, get it checked by your GP without delay.’’
Cancer is Ireland’s leading cause of death, accounting for approximately one in three deaths. For many cancers, stage at diagnosis is the most important determinant of survival. Lung cancer is Ireland’s leading cause of cancer death, but survival is greatly influenced by stage at diagnosis – seven out of ten people diagnosed with early stage (stage I) lung cancer survive for at least one year after diagnosis, compared to just one in six people diagnosed with late stage (stage IV) disease. Five year survival for colorectal, breast and ovarian cancer is high for early stage (stage I) disease (95%, 94% and 83% respectively), falling to just 10%, 19% and 15% respectively for late stage (stage IV) disease.
“You should call your GP immediately if you notice any of the following - a new cough lasting for more than three weeks, a change to a cough that you have had for a long time, breathlessness more than is normal for you, or chest infections that keep coming back. If you have a new or changing lump or bump on your body, e.g. a breast lump or a lump in your neck you should get it checked out. Likewise, anormal/unexplained bleeding from anywhere in your body, e.g. coughing up blood, blood in your poo or pee, vaginal bleeding between periods, after sex or after the menopause should also be seen to, along with a new or changing mole, unexplained weight loss, constantly feeling very tired, persistent change in bowel habit or persistent heartburn or indigestion."
Further information is available on Early Detection of Cancer webpage,
HSE NCCP website