There has been a reduction in the number of new patients starting anti-cancer therapy this year, according to figures from the National Cancer Control Programme.

In 2020, there were 7,683 patients started on chemotherapy, hormonal treatments and immunotherapy. So far this year, the number is 5,703, while the number was 8,252 In 2019.

The NCCP said that due to the limitations of available data sources, it is not possible to accurately quantify and date the number of people currently undergoing chemotherapy and the number who underwent chemotherapy treatment in each of the past five years.

The data was supplied to Peadar Tóibín, leader of Aontú in written parliamentary question.

He said that the statistics show that a trend has been broken when it comes to cancer treatment, with the number of people receiving treatment each year growing steadily, but in 2020 the number declined.

"We know that 60,000 fewer women were screened by CervicalCheck during the pandemic and that BreastCheck saw 100,000 fewer women in their clinics in 2020 than they did in 2019," Mr Tóibín said.

He added that the Government should never have cancelled screening services.