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The number of Irish people diagnosed with cancer has increased by almost 50 percent since the mid 1990s, with the biggest increase seen in women under the age of 55, new research has shown.

Lung cancer now claims more female lives than breast cancer, according to the National Cancer Registry in Ireland and smoking is the main cause.

Ireland ranked number one out of 30 European countries for prostate cancer while female breast cancer rates were the fouth highest in Europe.
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The annual report ‘Cancer in Ireland in 2011’ which was published yesterday found that survival rates from cancer diagnosis has improved from 40 to 55 percent over the last decade.
In the three years leading to 2009, the average number of breast cancer cases was almost 2,700. The average number of lung cancer cases was 800.

The report stated that 90 percent of lung cancer cases can be attributed to smoking: “Lung cancer has now overtaken breast cancer as the cancer most likely to cause death in women,”

“If progress is to be made in reducing the incidence of lung cancer in Ireland in the future, renewed efforts must be made to reduce tobacco use, especially in women,” the report said.

Kathleen O’Meara, head of advocacy the National Cancer Registry said the increased mortality rate from lung cancer was “an extremely worrying development”.