Charity warns 'potentially life saving treatment' for Irish cancer patients reduced due to cuts
"Potentially life saving" treatment options have been reduced for Irish cancer patients due to cutbacks in government funding, it has been claimed.
Cancer Trials Ireland claims its government funding has been cut by €3 million in the last three years.
The cancer research charity has said that ‘potentially life saving’ treatment options are now being reduced for cancer patients due to the cutbacks from the Department of Health.
This is the third consecutive year that the group has had its funding cut by 20pc. To date, its total cutbacks amount to €3 million.
“As a result of these continuing cuts, the number of people joining cancer drug trials each year is falling drastically,” said Professor Bryan Hennessy, Clinical Lead at Cancer Trials Ireland.
“This means that every year less people with cancer can access potentially effective treatment options when the standard treatments are not working,” he said.
The group has said that the cuts are having a “direct” impact on cancer research and it has been unable to open trials in diseases such as lymphoma, testicular and endometrial cancer.
“Clinical trials save and improve lives by giving patients access to new drugs they simply wouldn’t get otherwise,” said Averil Power, Chief Executive of the Irish Cancer Society.
“The Government recognised this when they committed to doubling the number of patients on trials by 2020. Instead, cuts in Government funding have resulted in fewer patients accessing trials,” she added.
Research from University Hospital Limerick found that the number of patients asking to participate in cancer trials has increased by 7pc since last year.
Cancer Trials Ireland is a registered charity, partly funded by grants from the Health Research Board, the Irish Cancer Society and St. Luke’s Institute of Cancer Research.