Northern Ireland cancer rate rises by 15% in decade due to older population

Cancer rates in Northern Ireland rose by 15% between 2008 and 2017, new figures show.

Tuesday, 12th March 2019, 4:55 pm
Updated Tuesday, 12th March 2019, 6:00 pm
The rising cancer rate in NI is 'largely due to our ageing population'

Statistics from the Northern Ireland Cancer Registry were released by Queen’s University, Belfast. Researchers say the increase is “largely due to our ageing population” in Northern Ireland.

The increase was similar, but not identical, for men and women. There were 4,187 cancer incidents amongst men in 2008, rising by 14% to 4,777 cases by 2017. For women, the increase was 16%, from 4,082 cases in 2008 to 4,744 cases in 2017.

In terms of the types of cancer, the largest increases amongst men were for kidney (34%), melanoma (33%), myeloma (30%) and liver (28%). For women, the largest increases were in liver cancer (66%), myeloma (34%) and lung cancer (33%).

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The statistics also revealed some geograpical differences across Northern Ireland.

Incidence rates of cancer in 2013-2017 were 8% higher among people living within the Belfast Trust area compared to the Northern Ireland average. Incidence rates were lower than average, meanwhile, among people living in the Northern and South-Eastern Trust areas.

The Northern Ireland Cancer Registry also revealed people living in more ‘deprived’ areas were 10% more likely to get cancer.

There were 8,269 cases of cancer in 2008 and 9,521 in 2017.