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Approval for cancer plan to be sought next month

A spokesperson for the Department of Health told MI that the drafting of the new National Cancer Strategy was nearing conclusion and that a final meeting of the Steering Group was imminent.

The former Minister for Health Leo Varadkar set up the National Cancer Strategy Steering Group in 2015 to advise the Department on developing a new cancer strategy, which was to cover the years 2016-2025.

The Group is chaired by Prof John Kennedy, Consultant Medical Oncologist, St James’s Hospital, Dublin, and features a number of the country’s leading cancer experts, including Director of the National Cancer Control Programme Dr Jerome Coffey.

Some of the issues which the new Strategy will seek to address include minimising the rate of increase in cancer numbers through prevention measures, including initiatives promoted by Healthy Ireland; ensuring that services for cancer treatment are on a par with the top international performers; and improving the quality of life of people recovering from cancer.

Meanwhile, the Irish Cancer Society last week announced €100,000 in funding for a research project which will investigate how cancer survivors can live well following their treatment.

The project will be conducted in Letterkenny University Hospital (LUH), Co Donegal, and is funded by the Irish Cancer Society with support from Relay For Life Donegal.

Dr Janice Richmond, Advanced Nurse Practitioner in the Oncology Department, LUH, commented: “This research wants to see if we can improve how people feel both physically and psychologically after they have had cancer. This involves approaching people who have had cancer and who are overweight and asking them to take part in this study so that we can help them improve their health. Being overweight has been shown to negatively affect survival rates following cancer, as well as making people feel less well overall.”

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