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Paediatric cancer services ‘must be self-sufficient’

The Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of ensuring Ireland has a “self-sufficient” cancer service for children and adolescents, according to Prof Owen Smith, Consultant Paediatric Haematologist, Children’s Health Ireland, Crumlin.

Speaking to the Medical Independent, Prof Smith said while the Crumlin service has 95 per cent of the treatments provided by other comprehensive cancer centres, patients requiring certain therapies, such as CAR T-cell therapy or proton therapy, currently need to be sent abroad.

However, the variants of SARS-CoV-2, and their potential to disrupt international links between different health services, emphasise the value of self-sufficiency.

“Within comprehensive paediatric cancer care, we need to be self-sufficient,” Prof Smith said.

“We are still sending those patients abroad. It might be small numbers, but we send them to the UK, or we send them to the US or the EU. The mutations of SARS-CoV-2 are just some of many we are probably going to have to deal with into the future. We just need to be self-sufficient so we can handle all of this within the island.”

See news feature, Cancer services and the other big ‘C’ – Medical Independent

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