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Know the signs, find cancer early

Published: 20 October 2021

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. We are using this time to highlight the importance of being aware of the signs of breast and other cancers and contacting your GP immediately if you notice any changes or something different for you.

Finding cancer early can improve your survival rates dramatically. One in two people in Ireland will develop cancer at some point in their lives but treatment options and survival rates are better than ever – especially when cancer is found early.

Diagnosing cancer early, before it has grown or spread to other parts of the body, is one of the most important ways to increase survival and optimise treatment options. Late diagnosis means the cancer has grown and spread to other parts of the body, potentially making treatment more complex, and reducing chances of survival.

Call your GP today if you notice any of the following:

  • A new lump/bump
  • A changing lump/bump
  • Abnormal bleeding
  • A new or changing mole
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Constantly very tired
  • Cough for more than three weeks
  • Persistent change in bowel habit
  • Persistent heartburn or indigestion

Don’t be scared, don’t delay, call your GP today.


Survival rates for the major cancer types in Ireland are significantly improved with early cancer diagnosis compared to late.

Lung cancer caught at stage one has an 80.6% survival rate one year after diagnosis, compared to just 20.6% at a late stage. Breast cancer has a 99.8% survival rate after one year if it is diagnosed at an early stage. Survival rates drop to 71.2% for a late-stage diagnosis. Early-stage diagnosis of prostate cancer sees survival rates at 99.9%, dropping to 83.7% once diagnosed at a late stage.