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Shocking NET increases merit action

20 Aug 2013

Photo by SUNSET / Rex Features

Dear Editor,

The article in your edition of July 12, 2013, from the National Cancer Registry Ireland (NCRI) was most informative, not to mention shocking (‘Diagnosing, treating and managing NETs’,

I particularly noted that in terms of time trends in incidence, there was an average (range 5-to-13 per cent) annual increase of 8 per cent. I am aware that actual numbers are relatively small but surely it begs the question — why!

We know the incidence of many cancers is increasing, particularly endocrine-dependant cancers, notably breast and prostate, and we also know that paediatric cancers are increasing in incidence at the rate of 2 per cent per annum, year-on-year.

The NCRI is doing great work in monitoring the deterioration but surely we need to be doing something about it.  International experts are increasingly highlighting environmental chemicals as a factor, particularly the endocrine disruptors.

We know from international biomonitoring research that we all carry up to 700 novel chemicals in trace amounts in our blood.

The Irish Doctors Environmental Association (IDEA — has called for a detailed environmental history to be taken from all cancer sufferers in a standard format, confidentiality-enforced, that could be computerised centrally, probably by the NCRI.

It may not help the sufferer but it may help to prevent the ever-increasing scourge in others.

Capital costs should be minimal, as the information technology is already to hand. It would be extremely informative to combine this with routine biomonitoring of patients, even if only for the chemicals of high concern.

Dr Philip Michael,

Hon Sec, IDEA,


Co Cork.

20 August 2013

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