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Dr Harry Comber has been Director of the National Cancer Registry since its establishment in 1992. He has a primary degree in chemistry (1971) from University College, Cork, a PhD in biophysics (1974) from the Institute of Cancer Research at the University of London and a medical degree (1978) from University College Cork.

Following medical graduation he trained as a general practitioner and worked as a GP and Director of the Cork General Practice Training Programme until 1992. In 1992-1994 he was responsible for setting up the Irish National Cancer Registry, which he has led since then. He is due to retire in June 2014.

His main work interests are in promoting the use of cancer information to improve health service planning and evaluation, and through this, better patient outcomes. His research activity, which derives from these interests, covers topics from determinants of disease to quality of care. He has contributed to over 60 peer-reviewed publications, as well as a large number of reports from the National Cancer Registry.

He was a member of the first and second National Cancer Forums and is a former member and Chair of the Scientific Council of the International Agency for Research on Cancer. Most recently, he has led the work package in the EUROCOURSE project which developed the European Cancer Observatory.


  • –present
    Director, National Cancer Registry Ireland