Saturday 21 October 2017

Warning as half of us will face cancer in our lives

Pictured at the launch were cancer survivor Cormac Clancy, Dr. Antoinette Perry, UCD, Grainne O’Rourke, Irish Cancer Society, Louise McSharry, 2FM DJ and rugby legend Tony Ward. Photo: Andres Poveda
Pictured at the launch were cancer survivor Cormac Clancy, Dr. Antoinette Perry, UCD, Grainne O’Rourke, Irish Cancer Society, Louise McSharry, 2FM DJ and rugby legend Tony Ward. Photo: Andres Poveda

Ryan Nugent

Half of the population face being diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime, the Irish Cancer Society (ICP) warned as it launched a harrowing new advertising campaign.

Entitled 'I Want to Get Cancer', it aims to shock people into action against the illness, which sees 140,000 people diagnosed each year.

By 2020, we will have reached the point where half of us will be diagnosed with cancer in our lifetime.

Cancer biology lecturer at UCD Dr Antoinette Perry said that life expectancy is a major factor. "It (the increase) is multifactorial. We have an ageing population so age is a factor for a number of different cancers.

"There's also improving awareness, so more people are being diagnosed.

"One example is prostate cancer where we have seen a dramatic increase in incidence, but that is because we have better detection methods," she added.

Hodgkin Lymphoma survivor and 2fm DJ, Louise McSharry recognised the symptoms on time, but feared her chemotherapy treatment would prevent her from having children.

After having baby boy Sam in October, she admits she was "lucky".

"The fertility specialist I saw told me my eggs were seriously depleted so it would be difficult for me to conceive naturally.

"Then I got pregnant really quickly.

"My body surprised me and was great and I had a great pregnancy and a really healthy baby, but it wasn't really meant to be that way so I was very lucky," she added.

The 'I Want to Get Cancer' campaign took two years to put together.

Its aim is to get Irish people to tackle cancer and its symptoms before it becomes too late and to get checked at an early stage.

Gráinne O'Rourke, head of communications at the ICS, said that a large number of families who have been affected by cancer were consulted during the creation of the ad campaign.

She said it was vital that they put together a bold campaign that would get people talking.

"It's a hard-hitting, impactful campaign," she added.

Irish Independent

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