Fermanagh and South Tyrone cancer cases surge by a third

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A record number of people have been diagnosed with cancer in the Fermanagh and South Tyrone area, according to the latest figures.

In 2014, 516 new cases of the disease were diagnosed - a rise of 33 per cent from the 2005 total of 388.

But the figure has been rising steadily for over a decade, with the largest hike occurring in the year up to 2014.

The dramatic rise is much larger than the Northern Ireland average (25%), and has been since 2005.

The news came as it was announced that 60 specialist cancer care nurses and support workers are to be added to the health service workforce over the next five years.

Most of the £11.5m boost for specialist cancer services is to come from charities.

Experts at Queen’s University said diagnoses of cancer in men went up 24% from 3,619 to 4,486, while among women, it had risen from 3,648 to 4,454 (22%) from 2005-2014.

The increase has been blamed, at least partly, on a growing older population with an increase of almost half a million people “living with cancer” across the UK in the last five years.

Macmillan says the surge will create a crisis of “unmanageable proportions”.

SDLP MLA for Fermanagh and South Tyrone Richie McPhillips said there was ‘a massive need’ for cancer services in the area. “Many cancer patients have come to me deeply frustrated that they have to travel to Belfast and other areas for cancer treatment which is adding stress and anxiety to an already extremely difficult and worrying situation”, he explained.

He also pointed out that many developments in cancer care provision are inaccessible for local people .

“The people of Fermanagh and South Tyrone have simply been left out of the equation,” he said.