Cancer incidence projections in Northern Ireland to 2040

David W. Donnelly* (Corresponding Author), Lesley Anderson, Anna Gavin, Northern Ireland Cancer Registry Group

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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BACKGROUND: Data on historic trends and estimates of future cancer incidence are essential if cancer services are to be adequately resourced in future years. METHODS: Age-standardized incidence rates (ASIR) for all cancers combined and 19 common cancers diagnosed during 1993-2017 were determined by sex, year of diagnosis, and age. Data were fitted using an age-period-cohort model, which was used to predict rates in future years up to 2040. These were combined with population projections to provide estimates of the future case number. RESULTS: Compared with the annual average in 2013-2017, for all cancers (excluding nonmelanoma skin) ASIRs are expected by 2040 to fall 9% among males and rise 12% among females, while the number of cases diagnosed is projected to increase by 45% for males and 58% for females. Case volume is projected to rise for all cancer types except for cervical and stomach cancer, with the annual number of cases diagnosed projected to more than double among males for melanoma, liver, and kidney cancers, and among females for liver, pancreatic, and lung cancers. CONCLUSIONS: Increased numbers of cancer cases is projected, due primarily to projected increases in the number of people aged 60 years and over. IMPACT: Projected increases will significantly impact the health services which diagnose and treat cancer. However, while population growth is primarily responsible, reduction of exposure to cancer risk factors, especially tobacco use, obesity, alcohol consumption, and UV radiation, could attenuate the predicted increase in cancer cases.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1398-1405
Number of pages8
JournalCancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention
Issue number7
Early online date1 Jun 2020
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding: The Northern Ireland Cancer Registry is funded by the Public Health
Agency. The funders had no role in the study design, data collection, analysis and
interpretation of results, or writing of the manuscript.

Acknowledgements: NICR uses data provided by patients and collected by the
health service as part of their care and support.


  • cancer
  • incidence
  • trends
  • projections
  • registry


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