Approximately 45,000 people will get a cancer diagnosis next year. And this number is expected to grow in the coming years. The good news, however, is that 4 in 5 children and adolescents, and 3 in 5 people overall, will survive their cancer diagnosis.
In Ireland, 207,000 people are living beyond cancer – and we want to see this number grow.
We have some key areas that we hope the Government will invest in as part of Budget 2024. These areas cover cancer prevention, timely access to diagnostics, treating cancer and relieving some of the out-of-pocket costs paid by people affected by cancer. We have a suite of specific budgetary recommendations for supporting children, adolescents and young adults diagnosed with cancer.
The Irish Cancer Society would like to see an environment which enables people to make informed choices to engage in cancer risk-reducing behaviours, from access to tobacco cessation services to making suncream more affordable with 0% VAT.
Time is everything when it comes to diagnosing and treating cancer. This is why we call for a protected cancer care pathway to ensure that people can access the diagnostic tests as and when they are needed, and access cancer treatment in a timely manner. Investment in the National Cancer Strategy, and in the vital services, is essential towards ensuring good results for cancer patients during and after cancer.
Cancer has significant financial and personal costs. When a person is diagnosed with cancer, household income tends to shrink. At the same time, new expenses emerge like paying for medication or paying for transport, accommodation and car parking just to get to the hospital door. The costs reach into other aspects of life. Some people find it difficult to start or complete their family after cancer therapies and must pay out of pocket for fertility treatments. Others are diagnosed with cancer during pregnancy and lose their maternity leave to time spent in cancer treatment, with no option to postpone and spend time with their new family.
In Ireland, over 360 young people aged 0-24 years are diagnosed with cancer each year. Cancer at this age is all-consuming and impacts not only on young people but their entire families. Many struggle to cope financially and need extra supports, so they can solely focus on caring for their loved ones. We are calling for significantly increased investment to ensure that Government does more to provide financial supports for families, and invests in cancer care through our dedicated children, adolescent and young adult pre-budget submission. The recommendations put forward in the Irish Cancer Society’s CAYA pre-budget 2024 submission are supported by the members of the Irish Cancer Society’s Children and Adolescent cancer advisory group: Cancer Fund for Children, CanTeen Ireland, Childhood Cancer Ireland, Hand in Hand and The Gavin Glynn Foundation.
Investing in cancer services and social entitlements means investing in people throughout their cancer journey: in their diagnosis, recovery, and in some cases at the end of their life.
We call on the Government to invest in young people and adults affected by cancer, by:
- Allocating €20 million in the National Cancer Strategy to support and develop cancer services
- Abolishing VAT on suncream to ensure that sun protection is more affordable
- Removing car parking charges to remove this extra layer of expense on cancer patients when they are financially vulnerable
- Guaranteeing women treated for cancer post-partum can postpone maternity leave during their treatment
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