Northern Ireland

Cancer: Record numbers in Northern Ireland living with the disease

Lung cancer Image copyright Science Photo Library
Image caption Approximately 63,000 people in Northern Ireland live with cancer

A record number of people living in Northern Ireland have been diagnosed with cancer, according to figures released by Macmillan Cancer Support.

An estimated 63,000 people now live with the disease.

Approximately 10,000 more people have been living with cancer since 2010, a figure that represents an 18% rise over the last five years.

The increase is due to improvements in survival and detection, and a growing and ageing population.

The number of men with prostate cancer has seen the biggest rise of 27% over the last five years.

Macmillan Cancer Support's general manager in Northern Ireland, Heather Monteverde, warned that care for cancer patients must be adapted.

"Without a complete transformation of the way people are supported after their treatment ends, there is no way patients will get the after-care they so desperately need, whether that's practical help at home, financial advice, or even emotional support," she said.

"Our existing health and social care structures were not set up to deal with the needs of such a huge number of people who have survived cancer, but who often continue to require considerable support," she added.

The charity has been working with the Health and Social Care Board, Public Health Agency and Northern Ireland Cancer Network to advocate individually tailored patient care.

A Transforming Cancer Follow Up (TCFU) programme, which cost £1.3m, has been used as a template by all five health trusts in Northern Ireland as a new model for breast cancer follow-up treatment.

The scheme includes access to a clinical nurse specialist, an additional treatment summary and an invitation to a health and well-being event.

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