Olive Bates and her father

‘Families need more emotional support when dealing with cancer and doctors simply don’t have the time’

Olive Bates from Tipperary lost her father Larry in January 2019, eight weeks after he was diagnosed with oesophageal cancer.

After the shock diagnosis, Larry (60) was admitted to University Hospital Waterford where it was quickly discovered that the cancer had spread to his liver and there were no treatment options available to him. 

“It was a massive shock and things deteriorated rapidly,” Olive said.

“When you’re left waiting in the hospital and you don’t fully understand what’s happening, the Irish Cancer Society becomes an invaluable lifeline. Between the drop-in Daffodil Centre in the hospital and the website, you can begin to make sense of the information and feel supported and more in control.” 

Olive said that while the doctors and nurses in the hospital were excellent, they didn’t have time to deal with the emotional side of supporting a patient and their family through cancer. 

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They are excellent, but they are overworked and are very medically orientated. It’s not their job nor do they have the time to provide emotional support.


“When my dad was told that there were no treatment options available to him, he was kept in a ward with six other patients who were being wheeled off for treatment. 

“That was very hard to deal with when our family knew there was no hope left, and that we were waiting for my dad to be moved to a hospice. 

“There definitely needs to be more counselling support for families, because it is a very hard and confusing time.”

Olive’s dad passed away on January 2, just eight weeks after he was diagnosed with cancer.

Most families like Olive’s in Ireland have been affected by cancer. Yours probably has too and you understand how devastating it can be.

Unfortunately, the number of people with cancer continues to grow so more and more families will face the uncertainly, chaos and distress it brings.

So much can be done politically to turn this around.

It is vital that when the next Dail is formed that cancer remains a critical issue for politicians of all parties.

We are asking all general election candidates to:

  1. Take action to improve quality of life for cancer patients and survivors;
  2. Fully fund cancer and health strategies; and
  3. Protect children from the tobacco and alcohol industries.

We are asking you and thousands of other Irish Cancer Society supporters to bring these issues up when a candidate calls to your door.

Help us make cancer an election issue

If you want to go a step further, we would really appreciate it if you would email your local candidates and ask them to make cancer a priority if they get elected. You can do that by finding your local representative’s details at the link below. It will only take 1 minute of your time.

Thank you for all your support, it means a lot.