Services for children with cancer

Most recent data from the National Cancer Registry of Ireland shows that in 2012, 33,845 people were diagnosed with cancer in Ireland, of these cases 0.6% were in children (aged 0-18yrs).   

What does the Irish Cancer Society do for children with cancer and their families?

We are actively involved in providing free services to all those affected by cancer, including children and their families.

Support for parents of children with cancer

We run a Parent Peer to Peer Support programme along with CanCare Living, Childhood Cancer Foundation, and CanTeen Ireland that connects parents of children with cancer with trained parent volunteers who really know what the parent is going through. All our parent volunteers have children who, in the past, have been treated for cancer. This service is also available to other adult family members (e.g. grandparents, aunts etc).

More about the programme

Services for children with cancer

Children with cancer, and their families, can avail of most of  our services including; our Cancer Nurseline; Night Nursing service; Daffodil Centres; Patient travel and financial support; counselling services which we fund in local cancer support centres; and our publications and website information which we provide free of charge, in hospitals, in our Daffodil centres and from our Cancer Nurseline.

More detail on these services is below:

Information about childhood cancer

We produce five booklets specifically for children with cancer. These books are sponsored by the Irish Cancer Society or produced in partnership with specialist paediatric centres and healthcare professionals: 

  • Helping Hand - A guide for parents of children with a brain tumour
  • Precious Times - A handbook on palliative care for parents of children with cancer
  • Children and Young People with Cancer (A Guide for Parents) – This booklet is written for parents whose child has been diagnosed with cancer.
  • Passport – Information for Families (a cancer passport for each child diagnosed with cancer to allow a community care model for their cancer treatment to be delivered).

We cover design, print and distribution costs for these materials while working with specialist paediatric centres and healthcare professionals on content. All of our publications are available on our website or by calling the Cancer Nurseline on Freephone 1800 200 700 or in hospitals and Daffodil Centres across the country.

Services for children with cancer and their families

Patient travel: Travel2Care is a fund, made available by the NCCP, for patients who are having difficulty getting to and from their treatments while attending one of the national centres of excellence.It is now available to those attending Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital, following vigorous lobbying by the Irish Cancer Society.

Financial Support ProgrammeThe Irish Cancer Society’s Financial Support Programme is available to assist children and their families on active treatment for a cancer diagnosis. 

Night Nursing Service: We provide end-of-life care for cancer patients in their own home. Our specialist palliative care nurses do care for patients of all ages, including children.

Daffodil CentresOur Daffodil Centres are located in thirteen hospitals nationwide. The centers are staffed by cancer nurses and trained volunteers who provide confidential advice, support and information to anyone affected by cancer.

We would welcome opening a Daffodil Centre or Information Pod in Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital but as an independent group, we don’t have access to hospitals without permission and approval from the Hospital and the HSE. Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital has not applied for a Daffodil Centre and until they request the service, we cannot bring the service there.  We are ready to provide this service and will do so if/when it receives the application from Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital.

Research on cancer in children and teenagers

Since the Society was founded in 1963, we have spent over €33m on cancer research. We have funded research which has contributed to breakthroughs in cancers which affect children as well as adults.

An example of this is our support for the research which led to the development of Gleevac, the drug which has made a huge difference to patients with leukaemia.

We are currently funding over €100,000 on a study that aims to explore inequalities in childhood cancer survival rates, stage of diagnosis, and long-term health outcomes.

Advocacy for children with cancer

We have been successful in lobbying to have Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital included as part of the Travel to Care travel assistance fund.

Frequently asked questions about childhood cancer and the Irish Cancer Society

What is the Irish Cancer Society expenditure in the area of childhood cancer?

Many of our services are not specified to any individual cancer therefore it is difficult to give an accurate percentage of spending on childhood cancer.

In 2016 we spent over €320,000 on supports for children with cancer.

Why don’t you fund more childhood cancer research?

We are the largest voluntary funder of cancer research in Ireland. Paediatric cancer researchers are invited to apply for funding.

We commission research projects based on a peer reviewed open call procedure. This means that we do not decide what research is funded. Researchers apply for funding and their applications are internationally peer reviewed and decisions are made based on the potential impact of the research proposals.

We are committed to a future without cancer and we believe that cancer research is one of the most important ways we can achieve this. We are actively seeking applications for funding in the area of paediatric cancer research. Applications proposing to complete research into Childhood Cancers are, however, extremely rare.

Why does the Society not do more for children with cancer and their families?

As a charity, it is our duty to spend the funds so generously donated to us as effectively as possible, and use them where they will have the most impact.

There are over 200 kinds of cancer, over 30,000 people diagnosed with cancer each year, and over 100,000 people living with cancer in Ireland. This is a very large and complex disease and a big population of people with diverse needs that will need support.

Our strategy is to do what we can to support these people while also trying to reduce the number of people who may get cancer in the future through help promotion and research, while lobbying for the best cancer services possible.

Date Last Reviewed: 
Monday, September 3, 2018