Cancer in Ireland

  • By 2020, 1 in 2 people in Ireland will develop cancer during their lifetime. It is predicted that Ireland could potentially see a doubling in the incidence of cancer by 2045.
  • In Ireland almost 45,000 new cases of cancer are diagnosed each year. This means that one person is diagnosed with cancer every 3 minutes.
  • Cancer has overtaken heart disease as the most common cause of death in Ireland.
  • Non-melanoma skin cancer, prostate cancer and breast cancer are the most commonly diagnosed cancers in Ireland.
  • Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in both sexes, accounting for 19% of cancer deaths in women and 23% in men. Colorectal cancer is the next most common cause of cancer death after lung cancer.
  • The number of people surviving cancer is likely to reach 200,000 by the end of this year
  • The total number of cancers diagnosed has increased by 85 per cent since the mid-1990s, this is largely due to population growth and ageing.
  • Due to effective and efficient improvements in cancer treatment and earlier detection, (e.g national screening programmes), the likelihood of surviving many forms of cancer continues to increase.
  • 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.