Together we will beat cancer


A magnifying glassWe get asked a lot of questions. From “what actually causes cancer?” or “does cancer run in the family?” to “how much broccoli should I eat?”, many people want to understand more about this disease and how we’re working to beat it.

So we’d like to answer some of your burning questions about cancer and cancer research.  Please leave them in the comments below, or email them to

We’ll pick the best, and over the coming months our scientists, along with our team of science and health information specialists and nurses, will answer a selection of them here on the blog.



Kat Arney November 17, 2011

Hi Michelle,
We’re very sorry to hear that cancer has affected you and your family, and understand your interest in studying the statistics for your area.

Cancer statistics for Northern Ireland are collected and analysed by the Northern Ireland Cancer Registry:
And cancer statistic for the ROI are collected and analysed by the National Cancer Registry Ireland:
Both websites are packed with cancer statistics and information, which you may find useful.

Finally, it’s worth pointing out that cancer is a very common disease which affects more than 1 in 3 people in the UK over their lifetime, and the risk increases as we get older. Furthermore, what can seem like many cases of cancer in a particular area usually just reflects the random distribution of cases – for example, it would be very strange to find exactly one person in every street affected by cancer. It would be much more realistic to see two in one street, three in another, then none in several. There’s much more explanation of so-called “cancer clusters” and statistical distributions available from the National Cancer Registry Ireland:

Best wishes to you and your family, and we wish you the best of health for the future,

Dr Kat Arney, Science Information Manager

Michelle McCartney November 16, 2011

Within 2 miles of my house there have been at least 12 people (that I know of )diagnosed with cancer . Some have died and others have a serious prognosis. I , myself have had a lumpectomy followed by radiotherapy and am still , I consider, traunmatised by the fact that I have contracted cancer. Also, bearing in mind that my brother in law died of cancer three years ago I find it hard to even consider reassuring my three young children that ‘everything will be alright’. Each new case causes me grief for that person and for my children ,
I have a Geography Degree and as such am keen to do some research into the distribution of cancer (by type, age, sex, income bands etc.,) within Northern Ireland and the Republic. Can you tell me if anyone is working on such an approach at the moment and also if you can supply me with up to date cancer statistics for the area.
I’d be grateful if you could assist me in my quest.

Simon K November 19, 2008

Can you ever envisage a time when you’ll be able to say, “We’re closing down Cancer Research UK – we know everything there is to know about cancer”? If so, when do you think that will be? And if you don’t think you’ll ever be able to say that, why not?