'Significantly less' cancer diagnoses this year due to pandemic disruptions
The Irish Cancer Society has said progress of improved cancer survival rates are being put at serious risk due to Covid-19 related disruptions.
The figures revealed today in the National Cancer Registry Ireland (NCRI) annual report shows there is a five-year net survival averaging at 65 per cent of patients diagnosed with cancer between 2014 and 2018, marking a significant increase from the average 42 per cent 20 years ago.
The report also confirmed mortality rates are falling for the most common cancers - breast, lung, prostate and colorectal, while the number of survivors living through or after cancer treatments is continuing to rise with nearly 200,000 patients living after a diagnosis at the end of 2019.
NCRI director Professor Deirdre Murray said the pandemic, particularly the first wave in early 2020, lead to patient's postponing and cancelling doctors' visits, while screening programmes and acute services were reconfigured to reduce numbers coming in and out of hospitals.
"There are clear signals that, as expected in Ireland, the number of cancer diagnoses in 2020 will be lower than in previous years", she said.
CEO of Irish Cancer Society Averil Power said:
"While it is heartening to hear that progress is being made for devastating cancers like breast, lung and prostate according to latest figures up to 2019, we are very worried that significantly less cancers were diagnosed last year.
"This will present a major challenge for years to come, and is unfortunately no surprise as already struggling cancer services have been stretched to breaking point during the pandemic. Lengthy waiting lists and disruptions to vital diagnostics and screening services are now all to commonplace", she added.
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