Date: 
May 18, 2017

Irish cancer patients can play an even bigger role in research to stop cancer

Irish Cancer Society backs Just Ask Your Doctor! public information campaign to raise awareness of cancer trials.

The public’s involvement in cancer research is crucial in our efforts to stop the disease and save lives, the Irish Cancer Society has stated.

On the eve of International Clinical Trials Day (May 20), the Irish Cancer Society today lends its full support to Cancer Trials Ireland’s Just Ask Your Doctor! public information campaign. The campaign aims to raise awareness of clinical trials and how they can benefit patients here in Ireland.

Commenting on the campaign launch, and calls for the Government to support a doubling of the number of people with cancer participating in trials, Head of Research at the Irish Cancer Society, Dr Robert O’Connor, said:

“Clinical trials play a vital role in the cancer research process – all cancer treatments used today were once put through a trial involving patients.

“The fact that more than one in two Irish cancer patients diagnosed today will be cured of their disease is as a direct result of the learnings acquired from generations of people taking part in cancer research and our dedicated research community working tirelessly together to overcome cancer. All future advances will only be possible through patients participating in new studies and further support for cancer researchers.

“The continued generosity of the Irish public has allowed the Irish Cancer Society to invest in quality Irish cancer research. This includes the Society’s  support for Cancer Trials Ireland  which , over the past 20 years, , has given more than 15,000 cancer patients in Ireland the opportunity to access new, potentially life-saving medicines and treatments. Such important research gives people with cancer and their families hope for better outcomes and a brighter future.

“However, while there are almost 150 cancer trials ongoing or at the patient-recruitment stage in Ireland, many patients who may be eligible to participate in a trial may not know that there is one suitable for them. That’s why empowering patients to seek out information from their doctor is key.

“Meanwhile, other patients may miss out on a trial that could benefit them simply because it is not available to patients in Ireland. Cancer Trials Ireland have outlined how we can change this through increased investment in clinical trials which will not only save money in the long run, but save countless lives here at home.”

Cancer Trials Ireland is supported by the Irish Cancer Society and the Health Research Board. The Society also co-funds Blood Cancer Network Ireland (BCNI), a national collaborative research network that aims to provide Irish blood cancer patients with access to the most innovative and novel medicines by conducting early phase clinical trials. The Irish Cancer Society partnered with Science Foundation Ireland in establishing BCNI in 2015.

BCNI has three clinical trials which are currently recruiting patients with Multiple Myeloma and Acute Myeloid Leukaemia. Further information is available on bloodcancers.ie.

More information on the Just Ask Your Doctor! campaign can be found on cancertrials.ie. Members of the public can also contact the Irish Cancer Society’s Cancer Nurseline on Freephone 1800 200 700 (Mon-Fri, 10am-4pm).