Cancer patients to get help at five new 'daffodil centres'
FIVE new centres offering support and counselling to cancer patients are to be opened this year as part of a major new expansion programme.
News of the new "daffodil centres" came as the head of the national cancer control programme confirmed that more rapid access clinics for the diagnosis of lung and prostate cancer will be up and running within the next few months.
The Irish Cancer Society yesterday confirmed it had written to 31 hospitals nationwide inviting them to submit expressions of interest in establishing "daffodil centres" on their sites.
Nominated hospitals will grant the ICS a licence to run each centre which will be staffed by an experienced cancer nurse and will be supported by trained volunteers.
ICS chief executive John McCormack said access to information was crucial for cancer patients and their families in helping them cope.
"We believe that daffodil centres will bridge the gap for patients and their families.
"They will be there to provide information to cancer patients and help them cope with their diagnosis," he said.
The announcement was made at the launch of the society's 23rd Daffodil Day campaign, which hopes to raise up to €4m by March 26.
Meanwhile, Oscar nominated actress Brenda Blethyn yesterday revealed her own personal battle with cancer as she launched Daffodil Day.
"I was 40 when I had a lump in my breast removed," Brenda (64) told the Irish Independent.
"It was scary and frightening. At the time they make you sign a form saying that if they find anything sinister, you can have a mastectomy. It worked out okay but there were people in the same ward as me who weren't so fortunate. You can't help but be moved by that."
Currently appearing in Edna O'Brien play 'Haunted' at the Gaiety Theatre, Brenda said she was delighted the Irish Cancer Society had asked her to launch their flag day which, it was hoped, would raise €4m this year for specialist nursing care for people with cancer and their families.
"I'm more than willing to help because there so much fear attached to cancer. I think it's marvellous that the society is trying to open up more units to help people with the disease," Brenda added.
National Cancer Control Programme interim director Tony O'Brien said more fast track clinics for diagnosing lung and prostate cancer would be opened this year.
Four lung cancer diagnostic clinics and four fast track prostate cancer centres are in operation and these numbers will be doubled in the coming months.
Mr O'Brien, also CEO of the national cancer screening service, said the eight new diagnostic and surgical cancer centres were working well and in the case of breast cancer, the majority of centres were seeing all urgent cases within two weeks.
He also revealed that by the summer, the number of public hospitals performing rectal cancer surgery would be reduced from 40 to 13 with the full transfer to the eight national centres being completed by the end of the year.