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Irish cancer society advises patients and their families to tap into wide array of information resources which are updated regularly

By Irish Pharmacist - 01st Apr 2024

The Irish Cancer Society is reminding pharmacists about the vast range of information and support services it provides, which could benefit some of the 42,000 people diagnosed with cancer every year.

The society is the biggest producer of cancer information in Ireland. All information is evidence-based, peer reviewed and updated regularly. It has 100 publications, almost 800 webpages and five patient education programmes in video format, with new videos due this year. Throughout 2024, it will run cancer awareness campaigns promoting symptom awareness and early detection at community events, in its hospital-based Daffodil Centres and across its social media channels.

The Covid-19 pandemic had a devastating impact on the diagnosis and management of cancer in Ireland, the results of which are still being felt today.  Preliminary data* on the impact of the pandemic indicates that the number of cancer cases diagnosed in 2021 was down 1,665 cases or six per cent lower than projected. In 2020, it was 10 per cent. The combined number of missed cancers from 2020 and 2021 tells us that one in 12 expected cancers were not detected over the first two years of the pandemic.


One in 12 expected cancers were not detected over the first two years of the pandemic

“We don’t yet have the full picture of whether these cancers were diagnosed at a more advanced stage, but what we do know is that the later the stage of diagnosis, the more complex, more costly, and more invasive cancer is to treat. These patients need more support and more information,” said Aoife McNamara, Head of Education and Engagement with the Society.

Pharmacists have an essential role to play in helping cancer patients to manage their medications. They also have a key role to play in helping all patients to recognise more obvious symptoms of cancer.

All of the society’s information is available free of charge. Copies of print publications can be ordered for pharmacies at: www.cancer.ie/about-us/cancer-resources-and-publications

As well as cancer information, the Irish Cancer Society also provides a range of services for people affected by cancer including its Support Line, which is staffed by specialist cancer nurses, Monday-Friday, 9am-5pm. Freephone 1800 200 700. A telephone interpreting service is also available.

*The full NCRI annual report for 2021 can be accessed at the following link:

https://www.ncri.ie/sites/ncri/files/pubs/NCRI_COVIDImpactIncidence2021_Report2023.pdf

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