The Irish Cancer Society has described a new hard-hitting campaign as "deliberately provocative" and said that it has to be in order to drive home the message that getting cancer is hard-hitting and impactful.

The advertising campaign, running on TV, print and online, has offended some people with its slogan, 'I want to get cancer'.

Head of Communications Gráinne O'Rourke said the campaign was not something the society entered into lightly because cancer is a particularly sensitive subject and it was mindful of that.

She added that the campaign has been planned for over two years. 

However she said the reality is that one in two people will suffer from cancer during their lifetime and the Irish Cancer Society has a duty of care to inform the public.

Ms O'Rourke said that over 40% of cancer risk can be reduced by lifestyle changes and there is a good range of screening programmes that people do not avail of.

There are more than 150,000 cancer survivors in Ireland and that number is rising.

Six out of ten cancer patients will survive to five years or beyond, double the survival rate of 40 years ago. 

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