Where your money goes

  • Image of a cancer researcher
  • Image of a cancer nurse
  • Image of an Irish Cancer Society Night Nurse
  • Image of a woman sitting on a couch talking

Cancer incidence is on the rise. By 2020, 1 in 2 of us will receive a cancer diagnosis in our lifetime. The Irish Cancer Society is working to stop this. By investing in cancer research and providing care and support to people affected by cancer, the Irish Cancer Society is stopping cancer in its tracks. Through research we are finding out more and more about how to diagnose, treat and how to stop cancer before its starts. By providing information, advice and support we are supporting people through their cancer experience and helping to reduce the fear of a cancer diagnosis. Read more about what we do.

The impact of your support in 2016

Thanks to your support we are working to stop cancer in its tracks. We fund life-saving cancer research and we provide care and support people affected by cancer in every community across Ireland.

Saving lives through cancer research thanks to the support of the Irish public

Through cancer research funded by you, we are finding out more and more about how to diagnose, treat and how to stop cancer before its starts.

Since 2010, we have been able to invest over €20 million into over one hundred innovative research projects making the Irish Cancer Society the largest voluntary funder of cancer research in Ireland.

Thanks to the support of the Irish public, investments in cancer research mean people surviving cancer than ever before.

Progress being made: When the Irish Cancer Society was created in 1963, only 3 out of 10 people survived their cancer diagnosis. Today, 6 out of 10 people survive their cancer diagnosis.

More information about cancer research

Some of our research initiatives include investments in collaborative cancer research centres such as BREAST-PREDICT (a €7.5m investment focused exclusively on breast cancer research) and Blood Cancer Network Ireland, a €2.3m clinical research network for blood cancers, co-funded by Science Foundation Ireland.

Meet one of our Irish Cancer Society-funded researchers, Michelle Lowry:

Find out more about our research projects and how our research is making a difference in the lives of people across the country affected by cancer.

Providing information and support for cancer patients and their loved ones across Ireland

Woman reading a cancer information pamphletBy providing information, advice and support we are supporting people through their cancer experience and helping to reduce the fear and burden of a cancer diagnosis.

Last year nearly 50,000 people affected by cancer received free information, care and support thanks to the generosity of our supporters.

Over 4,000 people across Ireland called our Cancer Nurseline with questions or concerns about cancer.

Our Cancer Nurseline is staffed by specialist cancer nurses who provide confidential support and information to anyone affected by cancer - patients, loved ones, or any member of the public who is concerned about any type of cancer.

The Nurseline operates Monday to Friday from 10 am to 4 pm on Freephone 1800 200 700, as well as through email and our online community.

In 2016, the Cancer Nurseline answered 4,333 enquiries from the public about cancer-related issues.

Irish Cancer Society Daffodil Centres provided information and support to 39,000 people.

Irish Cancer Society Daffodil Centres are based 13 hospitals around the country: Letterkenny General Hospital, Co. Donegal; University Hospital Waterford; Bon Secours Hospital, Cork; Cork University Hospital; Beaumont Hospital, Dublin; Mater Misericordiae University Hospital, Dublin; St. James’s Hospital, Dublin; St. Vincent’s Hospital, Dublin; Tallaght Hospital, Dublin; University Hospital Galway; University Hospital Limerick; The Hermitage Medical Clinic, Lucan; St Luke’s Hospital, Dublin.

Daffodil Centres allow people affected by cancer to speak directly to a Cancer Nurse and get free, one-on-one information about cancer. A total of 38,562 contacts were made nationally with the Daffodil Centres last year.

Read more about Irish Cancer Society Daffodil Centres and locate your nearest centre.

Over 230,000 free cancer information booklets and leaflets were distributed across Ireland.

Last year, the Society distributed 234,793 cancer information booklets and leaflets free of charge to individuals, hospitals, healthcare professionals, GP surgeries, schools, community health groups and cancer support centres in every community in Ireland.

For more information and to browse our collection of publications on cancer, visit our Publications section.

11,538 lifts provided for cancer patients to get to their chemotherapy appointments in hospital.

The Irish Cancer Society's Volunteer Driver Service provides transport for cancer patients to and from their hospital chemotherapy treatments. The Service currently operates in 21 hospitals around the country and gives free lifts to patients to and from their chemotherapy treatment.

Last year, drivers clocked up 1,119,170 km in as they provided 11,538 journeys for 1,162 patients. There are now over 1,000 volunteer drivers supporting the service.

Meet Margaret, one of our amazing volunteer drivers:

Learn more about the Volunteer Driver Service.

Irish Cancer Society Night Nurses provided over 8,000 nights of end of life care to 2,000 patients.

For cancer patients that are not going to survive their diagnosis, we provide a service called Night Nursing which allows the patient to spend their remaining time at home in the comfort of their homes, surrounded by loved ones. Night Nurses are trained cancer nurses who specialise in end of life care.

Over the course of 2016 the Society’s Night Nursing service provided 8,008 nights of care to 1,934 patients around the country. Night Nurses provide up to 10 nights of care for cancer patients who are at the end of their cancer journey, in their own home, during the last days of their life.

The impact of Night Nursing: Mary and Áine:

Read more about the Irish Cancer Society Night Nursing service.

Financial grants provided to parents of children with cancer and local cancer support centres

The Irish Cancer Society provides a Financial Aid fund to assist children and their families on active treatment for a cancer diagnosis. This fund is for patients under the age of 18 years, and their families, who have been diagnosed with cancer, and are unable to meet a specific financial burden that has come about as a direct result of their illness.

Grants totalling €248,054 were provided to 402 cancer patients nationwide through the Society’s Financial Support programme supporting parents of children who are undergoing cancer treatment and experiencing financial hardship.

Read more about our Financial Support Programme.

A cancer nurse speaking to a manThe Society works with cancer support groups and centres across Ireland to make sure cancer patients and their loved ones have access to confidential support including counselling.

In 2016, the Irish Cancer Society provided €352,892 to cancer support centres to facilitate counselling sessions for cancer patients and their families during and after their cancer journey. The Irish Cancer Society granted a total of €89,000 to local cancer support centres to help fund training, organisational consultancy and grants for approved psycho-social programmes.

Learn more about counselling services for people affected by cancer and see a list of the support groups and centres we fund.

Over 1,000 patients provided financial aid to help with transportation costs

For cancer patients who are having difficulty getting to and from their treatments, we administer transportation assistance on behalf of the National Cancer Control Programme (NCCP) called Travel2Care.

This fund is available to patients travelling to the eight designated cancer care centres in Ireland (Beaumont Hospital, Mater Misericordiae Hospital, St James’s Hospital, St Vincent’s University Hospital, Cork University Hospital, Waterford regional Hospital, University Hospital Galway and Mid-Western Regional Hospital Limerick) and approved satellite centre (Letterkenny General Hospital).

In 2016, 1,130 patients were assisted with transport costs to the sum of €242,533 in 2016 from the Travel2Care transportation assistance fund.

Raising awareness about how to prevent cancer from happening in the first place

4 out of 10 cancers can be prevented by following the European Code Against Cancer - 12 easy lifestyle habits to reduce the risk of many forms of cancer.

Each year, the Society runs annual national awareness campaigns and a number of programs designed to raise awareness of cancer symptoms, cancer prevention and to support people to make lifestyle changes that can help reduce their risk of cancer.

Some of our specific campaigns include:

The PREVENT Programme

Our PREVENT programme recruits and trains volunteers to educate communities on cancer prevention and early detection. The Society has volunteers available nationwide to give talks to community groups and to disseminate health awareness publications.

Last year, PREVENT volunteers had contact with 2,400 members of the public and raised awareness about cancer prevention early detection and the services of the Irish Cancer Society.


The X-HALE initiative is rolled out by the Society each year as part of the ongoing fight to decrease the number of young people who start smoking. Youth groups across Ireland are supported in creating their own anti-smoking campaigns to encourage their peers and communities to be tobacco free.

In 2016, €10,950 was granted to 29 youth groups across the country. Our annual X-HALE Youth Awards took place in July 2016 and featured 34 inspiring entries from youth groups across Ireland. Almost 300 young people, youth workers and health promotion professionals took part, with St. Bridget's Guides Clonmel claiming the Overall Junior Category Short Film Competition Winner and Ballincollig Youthreach the Overall Senior Category Short Film Competition Winner.

Learn more about X-HALE and take a look at the 2017 entries.

We Can Quit

We Can Quit is a free, 12-week programme that supports women to support other women to stop smoking. The programme offers free nicotine replacement therapy (NRT), a weekly smoking cessation group and one to one support.

In 2016, We Can Quit was offered to women in target communities in Cork where smoking prevalence is high. This free programme offers women a supportive environment in which to quit smoking and supported 156 women in their smoking cessation efforts.

The impact of We Can Quit: A former smoker talks about being smoke-free

Read more about the We Can Quit programme.

Working with Government to influence policy and legislation for the better

The Irish Cancer Society works with members at all levels of Government to influence and improve policy and legislation to make the cancer experience better for the patient and their loved ones. This is called Advocacy.

Our Advocacy team is working to improve the lives of people with cancer and reduce the risk of people getting cancer, by informing and influencing Government policy and legislation, including:

  • Lobbying for a reduction in the Drugs Payment Scheme threshold (currently set at €144).
  • Calling for the prescription charge to be abolished (currently set at €2.50 per item).
  • Campaigning against high hospital car parking charges.
  • Extending cancer screening programmes.

Read more about the Irish Cancer Society's Advocacy efforts to improve the cancer experience for patients.

We have invested over €30 million from voluntary donations into hundreds of innovative research projects, which have made over 700 new findings.

Funded research

We provide information, advice and support where needed--in hospitals, over the phone and online, as well as services and support networks for cancer patients and their families.

Our services

We work to influence decision-makers at government level around cancer and other health issues and empower advocates to help influence cancer policies.

More on advocacy


Our Impact Report

Irish Cancer Society 2016 Impact Report

We want you to know where your donated money is spent and what we do in the Irish Cancer Society. This report gives you a rundown on what your donation has helped us do in 2016.

Read the report