All Ireland Cancer Atlas 1995-2007

Hats off to the cross-border research by the Northern Ireland Cancer Registry at Queen’s and National Cancer Registry, Ireland down in Cork for their co-production of the All Ireland Cancer Atlas 1995-2007. The conclusions and discussion are surprisingly accessible (all sections are linked below). While it may make for chastening reading (or help sharpen up ideas for a New Years Resolutions), it hopefully will inform health service provision, which is timely in light of the appearance of the Compton Review. Of particular interest in terms of shaping health care provision, the report states (p.200 in the Conclusions as linked below):

One value of an all-Ireland atlas is the ability to compare two populations living in close proximity with a presumed similarity in lifestyle and genes, but with different health services. This may serve as a “natural experiment” to separate the effects of health service organisation and its contribution to cancer risk, from individual factors such as genetics and lifestyle. However, it was not our primary aim to look at NI/RoI differences. … The limited data available did not indicate any major differences in cancer risk factors between NI and RoI and there were few systematic differences in cancer risk. For a number of cancers we observed north-east/south-west gradients which might have been related to NI/RoI differences; however there was no evidence of a sharp gradient in the border areas, which would have been expected if this were the case. Some clear differences in relative risk existed between NI and RoI.


Some of the higher incidences of particular cancers may be better detection, or, late detection, but at least it is now possible to make some assessment of it.

The sections on individual cancers are below and are worth a look for the maps alone.

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