The head of the national cancer control programme, Professor Tom Keane has stated that by late spring 2009, all initial breast cancer diagnosis and treatment will be centralised at eight hospitals in the country.
There were 33 hospitals providing these services just over a year ago.
Prof Keane said that over the coming period services are due to move from Our Lady of Lourdes in Drogheda, Tallaght Hospital, the South Infirmary in Cork and Sligo General Hospital.
Prof Keane and Health Minister Mary Harney met with medical specialists at Sligo ten days ago to discuss the issue. Professor Keane stated that his goal was to get Ireland into the top 10 to 15% of top performing countries in terms of cancer care but this would take many years.