Drogheda Independent

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NECRET role in cancer fight


The NECRET Annual Conference took place in City North Hotel and again attracted people from all over the country.

Frank Godfrey, Mayor Drogheda welcomed everyone who came from the surrounding North East areas and beyond, stating "Cancer touches every family in some shape or form.' He was very thankful for all the cancer research that was taking place currently and hoped that death rates from cancer would diminish into the future.

Dr David Easty from the Oncology Unit in Drogheda then spoke on the prevalence of cancer in today's world and the many problems facing us. He talked about the new research that is taking place. Among the studies into new treatments and drugs that the Oncology Unit in Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital is playing a role is a study into a new treatment approach for pancreatic cancer. This is very encouraging as pancreatic cancer is difficult to treat.There is a worldwide global effort on cancer research and there is a lot of progress being made.

This year the two guest speakers who have been been impacted by cancer were entrepreneur and radio broadcaster Bobby Kerr and eight time Champion Jockey Pat Smullen.

Bobby said it was three years to the day that he was diagnosed. He found a lump on his neck and one of his daughters advised him to go and have it investigated.

Pat spoke candidly about how he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer last March. It was a huge shock and his career is now on hold. Approaching his treatment fit was a big advantage. He looks after his diet more seriously now. He has great praise for the doctors and nurses taking care of him and said they all worked as a team to get him back to health. He worked with a team in his world of horse racing and the hospital were working as a team in their medical world.

There was then a question and answer session with a forum of professionals, Dr. David Easty and Prof Joe O'Sullivan, Belfast City Hospital and Clinical Nurse Specialist Rosemary Smyth, from the Cavan Oncology Unit.

Financial Advisor Tom Grant, then spoke on the financial implications of a cancer diagnosis. Some people have to give up their job, while others can only work part time. While a medical card and having health insurance are of course beneficial but there are many other hidden costs that run parallel with a cancer diagnosis.

Professor Joe O'Sullivan spoke on the subject of prostate cancer. He works also in the area of research. They are many trials happening at the moment which he is very excited about. He did admit that people who take part in trials are very courageous. Another string to his bow is his talent as a musician and composes his own songs. All proceeds from his music go to cancer research. He sang a beautiful song called "Take a Deep Breath" which was inspired by a couple.

As part of a new format there was a Living Better & Wellness Panel Discussion facilitated by Elizabeth Summersby, Advanced Nurse Practitioner in the Oncology Unit in Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, Drogheda and other specialists. Shannon O'Donovan Medical Oncology & Haematology Social Worker, Kay Morris, Cancer Physiotherapist, Niamh Devlin, Oncology Dietician from the Hospital and Local Pharmacist, from Haven Pharmacy Duleek, Kathy Maher.

Mary Watters of the Citizen Information Service outlined the various social welfare entitlements available to cancer patients. Nick Costello disused the benefits of meditation in the management of stress. Elizabeth Summersby closed the Conference thanking everyone for their support and hoped they gained valuable information on cancer.