Cancer in Ireland

  • One in three people in Ireland will develop cancer during their lifetime.
  • In Ireland an average of 40,000 new cases of cancer are diagnosed each year. This means that one person is diagnosed with cancer every 3 minutes.
  • One person dies from cancer in Ireland every hour. 1 in 4 deaths in Ireland is caused by cancer and the disease is Ireland’s second biggest killer.
  • By 2020, 1 in 2 people in Ireland will develop cancer during their lifetime. It is predicted that Ireland will see a doubling in the incidence of cancer by 2040.
  • Skin cancer is the most common cancer in Ireland. This is followed by breast cancer  in women, and prostate cancer  in men. Colorectal/bowel  and lung  are the commonest cancers affecting both sexes.
  • Lung  cancer is the most common cause of cancer death in both sexes causing 19% of cancer deaths in women and 23% of cancer deaths in men during the period 2011-2012. However, this cancer is almost completely avoidable. 95% of lung cancers are caused by smoking. Lung cancer mortality in Irish women is the 4th highest in Europe; it is more than 50% above the European average and still increasing. For more information about lung cancer, click here
  • Long-term survival from cancer has greatly increased in the past decade. Survival at five years from diagnosis has gone from 42% in 1994-1999 to 60% in 2005-2009 in men and from 52% to 62% over the same period in women. Survival for some cancers—testicular, prostate and thyroid—is now over 90% at five years.
  • There are currently around 150,000 people living with and beyond cancer in Ireland. Today 60% of cancers are cured.
  • Although most cancer patients are aged over 65 at diagnosis, more than half of the patients with cancers of the cervix, testis and Hodgkin’s lymphoma were aged under 50 at diagnosis.
  • 62,000 years of life were lost to cancer in 2010, more than to any other cause. The number of years lost to lung cancer increased by 50% for women since 1995.

All data sourced from the National Cancer Registry of Ireland (NCRI) ( and the Central Statistics Office (

Cancer prevention

4 in 10 cancers can be prevented through lifestyle changes. Find out how you can reduce your cancer risk on our Your Health: Your Choice page.

Cancer services

The Marie Keating offers a number of free cancer services to both men and women.

There are also cancer support centres and services available all over Ireland. You can find a list of these services here.

Some companies offer products and services that will be of interest to people affected by cancer.