Home > Dail Eireann debate. Breast Cancer Awareness Month: statements.

[Oireachtas] Dail Eireann debate. Breast Cancer Awareness Month: statements. (21 Oct 2021)

External website: https://www.oireachtas.ie/en/debates/debate/dail/2...

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Mary Butler): I am pleased to mark breast cancer awareness month and to discuss this important topic. At the outset, I wish to acknowledge the great commitment of those working in cancer services in hospitals, screening services, community services and the charitable and voluntary sectors. This has enabled the continued provision of quality care to individuals during the Covid-19 pandemic and following the cyberattack in May.

Cancer prevention is a cornerstone of the National Cancer Strategy 2017-2026. Prevention aims to improve the overall health of our population and offers the most cost-effective, long-term approach for cancer control. The proportion of the incidence of cancer attributable to modifiable lifestyles and environmental factors is estimated to be in the 30% to 40% range. Modifiable lifestyles or environmental risks exist for many cancers. Of these, smoking is the most important. Others include excess body weight, physical inactivity, alcohol consumption and sun exposure.

Prevention measures are promoted by the Government as part of the overall health and well-being initiatives under the Healthy Ireland programme. Initiatives such as breast cancer awareness month bring a renewed and targeted emphasis on prevention. It presents opportunities for us all to promote breast awareness and spurs us on in our efforts to promote the message across the population that people can impact significantly on their own risk of developing cancer.

Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed invasive cancer among women in Ireland. It affects approximately 3,500 women every year as well as a very small number of men. Breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths among women in Ireland. However, survival rates are improving significantly. The latest breast cancer statistics from the National Cancer Registry show that five-year net survival for breast cancer patients improved from an average of 70% for a diagnosis in the period 1994 to 1999, to 85% in 2011 to 2015. This represents an approximate halving of the five-year mortality risk over that time. As these figures predate the introduction of the current national cancer strategy and the improvements made in recent years, it is expected that the next set of figures will show a further substantial improvement....

[For the full debate, including discussion on alcohol and one mention of cannabis, please click this link to the Oireachtas website]

Repository Staff Only: item control page