Cancer in Ireland

  • By the end of 2021, the number of people living after an invasive cancer diagnosis reach 215,000. This is equivalent to 4.2% of the population, or about 1 in 24 persons in Ireland, a >50% increase in numbers of cancer survivors compared with one decade ago. This reflects both an increase in the number of people being diagnosed with cancer every year and ongoing improvements in cancer survival It is predicted that Ireland could potentially see a doubling in the incidence of cancer by 2045.


  • On average, 41,767 cancers or related tumours were diagnosed each year during 2019-2021. This is approximately 1 diagnosis every 15 minutes
    • The figure most often quoted in international comparisons (‘all invasive cancer, excluding NMSC’) averaged 24,424 cases (13,075 males and 11,349 females) diagnosed annually during 2019-2021, or 58% of all registered tumours.
    • Invasive cancers (including NMSC) averaged 34,335 cases per year during 2019-2021.
    • 24% (almost 1 in 4) were non-melanoma skin cancers (NMSC).
    • Approximately 18% (almost 1 in 5) of these were non-invasive neoplasms (in situ carcinomas, tumours of uncertain behaviour and benign brain and CNS tumours).

    What are the most common cancers?

    • Excluding non-melanoma skin cancer (NMSC), prostate and female breast cancer were the most commonly diagnosed invasive cancers overall, and each comprised almost one-third of all invasive cancers in men and women respectively during the period 2019-2021.
    • Colorectal (bowel) cancer, lung cancer, melanoma of skin and non-Hodgkin lymphoma were the 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th most common cancers in males, respectively.
    • Lung cancer, colorectal cancer, melanoma of skin, and uterine cancer (corpus uteri) were the 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th most common cancers in females respectively


  • Long-term survival from cancer has greatly increased in the past twenty years – Overall, Ireland is making good progress in terms of survival improvements for all cancers included, but still has some way to go to match the best-performing countries.

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.