The Health Service in Northern Ireland is currently facing a major challenge with respect to a projected rise in cancer cases.
To tackle this issue, the Health Steering Group under the leadership of the Chief Nursing Officer, Charlotte McArdle, has been asked to develop a new 10-year cancer strategy for Northern Ireland. The plan for the strategy was discussed in a recent meeting attended by patients with cancer, charities, healthcare professionals and senior health and social care managers.
The projections for cancer incidence are alarming. During the period between 2009 and 2013, 4347 males and 4175 females were diagnosed with cancer every year in Northern Ireland. These figures are expected to reach 6200 cases (43 per cent rise) in men and 6000 cases (40 per cent rise) in women per year by 2026. The primary reason for the anticipated growth in cancer incidence is believed to be increasing life expectancy of the population.
Professor McArdle said: "It is imperative that we act now to meet the challenge. A fully comprehensive new strategy for the period 2020 to 2030 will help us direct our skilled workforce and resources most effectively."