According to the latest report for medical journal The Lancet five-year survival rates have jumped from 44% to over 60% in the past 20 years.
Welcoming the news yesterday Health Minister Simon Harris said: “The National Cancer Strategy aims to ensure that survival rates continue to improve.”
Speaking ahead of World Cancer Day today he said the 2017-2026 strategy aims to match top survival rates in Europe.
Minister Harris said reducing alcohol intake was an important step in reducing cancer risk. He said: “We can all take small steps to reduce our risk of developing cancer.”
The number of cancers diagnosed in Ireland continues to rise each year with more than 40,000 new cases last year.
Rates are expected to rise sharply over the next two decades because of an ageing population. Irish Cancer Society head of research Dr Robert O’Connor said the data, going back to 2000, shows Ireland still has “a long way to catch up” to achieve a mid-ranking.
He said eight out of 10 Irish women with breast cancer could now expect to live up to 10 years longer, while nine out of 10 of those with prostate cancer do so.
Less progress has been made with more aggressive cancers, such as pancreatic and ovarian, where treatment options were more limited.
The report found survival rates for most cancers have been consistently high over the past 15 years in the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Finland, Norway, Iceland and Sweden.