Cancer Focus Update
Roisin Foster Chief Executive Cancer Focus NI spoke to the Club Monday 10 April about ongoing developments within Cancer Focus since she last spoke to the Club about 2yrs ago.
She advised that it was set up nearly 50 years ago when Peter Brand having been diagnosed with cancer found there were no trials or research being conducted and set up the NI charity. She pointed out that aiming to reduce the impact of cancer on people's lives they have 4 main areas of focus which have evolved since their inception. Their initial focus was on research into the causes, treatment and prevention of cancer which soon developed into awareness education across NI as there was very little knowledge about cancer then. This entailed helping the public to recognise early signs of cancer together with making healthy lifestyle choices to prevent its onset. More recently they also provide family support providing help and advice to those individuals and families living with cancer particularly dealing with the psychological impact and most recently have begun to lobby government.
In the last 2 years she advised they have moved into:
- prevention: offering a range of cancer prevention programmes to help people lessen their risk of getting cancer and promoting core messages starting in nursery schools with the diet of goats!; in primary schools they highlight the risk of sun etc. and in secondary schools “smokebusters”
- care and counselling support services for cancer patients and their families particularly after having returned home after treatment, half of the families they work with have a terminally ill member
- lobbying: pressuring government to ensure it meets its own targets
She also pointed out that they do not actually do any research solely fund it and that currently there is a major breast cancer research project in QUB. She asked members to consider leaving a donation in a will pointing out that all such monies go directly to research.
Thanking her for her address President Ivan asked members to remember they are they to help and that there is a free phone helpline.