Written answers

Tuesday, 12 October 2021

Photo of Peadar TóibínPeadar Tóibín (Meath West, Aontú)
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620. To ask the Minister for Health if the attention of his Department has been drawn to any differential in survival rates for breast cancer between patients who are diagnosed and treated in the public system and those diagnosed and treated in the private system; and if he will provide the statistics on the issue. [49706/21]

Photo of Stephen DonnellyStephen Donnelly (Wicklow, Fianna Fail)
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The Department of Health is not aware of any recent report in regard to a differential in survival rates for breast cancer between patients who are diagnosed and treated in the public system and those diagnosed and treated in the private system.

A National Cancer Registry Ireland (NCRI) report “Cancer care and survival in relation to centralisation of Irish cancer services: an analysis of National Cancer Registry data 1994-2015”, published in 2019, sets out that from 2008-2014, 5-year survival by category of hospital was as follows:

- Designated cancer centres Other public hospitals Private hospitals
5-year survival, 2008-2014 85% 81% 93%

There are a number of points to be consider in relation to this data, including that:

- The majority of all breast cancer cases were diagnosed or treated in designated cancer centres (70%), with the balance in either other public hospitals or in private hospitals. The proportion of breast cancer patients in private hospitals was relatively small.

- Patients can transition in and out of the public system, and between hospitals within the public system. Status may vary for individual patients at different points in their diagnosis and treatment pathway.

- The figures are not adjusted for cancer stage, or for the age of patients.

NCRI data shows that five-year net survival for breast cancer improved markedly from an average of 70% for diagnosis period 1994-1999, to 85% for 2011-2015.

The study referenced above predates the commencement of the National Cancer Strategy 2017-2026. Further improvements in breast cancer survival rates are to be expected over the lifetime of the Strategy.

As part of Budget 2021, an extra €20m has been allocated for the continued implementation of the National Cancer Strategy this year. Additional funding of €12m has also been allocated in 2021 for the restoration of cancer services in the context of the Covid 19 pandemic.

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