An updated national cancer strategy promising to improve detection levels, treatment and survival rates has been published by Minister for Health Simon Harris.

The strategy report says that the number of cancers are expected to double by 2040.

The last national cancer strategy was published in 2006 and has resulted in improved detection and survival rates with big advances being made in cancer diagnostics, treatments and survival.

The new cancer strategy promises more improvements up to 2026.

Launching the strategy, Mr Harris said: "There are very few families in Ireland that have been untouched by cancer and sadly we are all too aware of the hardship, pain and loss it can bring.

"It is a challenge that we all must face together as a country. Great strides have been made under the current National Cancer Strategy, in relation to improved surgical, radiation and medical oncology services, rapid access clinics and cancer screening.

"This progress has resulted in improved outcomes for patients and better survival rates. Now we must take the next step."

There are over 150,000 cancer survivors in Ireland and funding new medical treatments will be crucial going forward.

The new strategy also seeks to improve healthier lifestyles, encourage smoking cessation and healthier eating.

Ireland is supposed to be tobacco free by 2025.

The strategy says increased service demands will result in capacity challenges, including funding and staffing.

It calls for rolling capital investment to ensure a high quality of cancer services for patients.

The Irish Cancer Society welcomed the fact that the strategy focuses on the cancer patient.

However, it said funding needs to be ring-fenced and it will continue to lobby the Government for this.