Poorer people are up to 70% more likely to get some cancers.
A lecture being hosted by the Irish Cancer Society and the St Vincent de Paul in Dublin has heard how factors such as education, income, employment and living conditions can all influence cancer risk and survival here in Ireland.
In Ireland, lung, stomach, head and neck, and cervical cancers are all more common in areas of higher unemployment and lower levels of education.
Men in areas with the poorest education levels have a 32 per cent greater risk of lung cancer than men living in areas with the highest level, while women have a 23 per cent greater risk. Women in areas with the lowest education levels had a 66% greater risk of cervical cancer than those in areas with the highest level of educational attainment.
Men in the most densely populated areas had a 53 per cent greater risk of developing head and neck cancer than men in less densely populated areas
John McCormack, CEO of the Irish Cancer Society said: “If we are to have any hope of reducing high cancer rates among poorer communities, we have to recognise and tackle the social and economic factors which impact on people’s health. We have to make sure that everyone, no matter where they live or how much money they have, gets the same high quality cancer treatment, that they go for screening and that they know how to recognise early symptoms. Ultimately however, if we are to close the health gap between the rich and the poor in Ireland, we have to close the inequality gap too.”
The conference has heard that in order to reduce the risk of cancer - there has to be a concerted effort to improve a persons social circumstances.
Donal Buggy is Head of Services with the Irish Cancer Society... he says some of the figures outlined are pretty stark....