Date: 
February 3, 2016

Irish Cancer Society calls on public to shape policy change on World Cancer Day

Ahead of World Cancer Day on Thursday 4 February, the Irish Cancer Society is calling on the public to support its message “We can shape policy change” by telling their General Election candidates to close the cancer gap.
 
The Cancer Gap means that where you live affects whether you will survive or die from cancer.  
 
Donal Buggy, Head of Advocacy and Services at the Irish Cancer Society said: “Death rates in some of the poorest parts of Dublin are twice as high as rates in more affluent areas.” 
 
“Inequalities exist at every step of the cancer journey and people from disadvantaged backgrounds have fewer GPs in their area, wait longer for vital tests for cancer and are less able to cope with the cost of cancer.  This has caused a cancer gap between rich and poor.”
 
Mr. Buggy continued: “This World Cancer Day, and throughout the General Election campaign, we will be asking the public to support our General Election goals which, if implemented by the next Government, will help close the Cancer Gap and will help ensure that everyone has an equal opportunity to live a healthy life.”
 
The Irish Cancer Society are asking the public to tell candidates to commit to change in three key areas:

1. Fair and equal access:

- Tackle waiting times for vital diagnostics for cancer
- Commit to introducing Universal Health Care
 

2. Reduce the cost of cancer:

- Ensure automatic entitlement to medical cards upon cancer diagnosis
- Abolish the prescription charge
- Reduce the Drugs Payment Scheme threshold to €85
 

3. Cancer Policy Action:

- Implement the new National Cancer Strategy
- Maintain commitment to extend screening programmes
- Establish a Cabinet sub-committee on Health Inequalities
 
“We can all do our part to close this gap and reduce the burden of cancer,” said Mr Buggy.  
 
“We can shape policy change. In this election, patients, their families, and healthcare providers have an important role to play in encouraging political parties to introduce policies that will ensure a fairer health system and better outcomes for cancer patients and their families.”
 
Mr. Buggy said: “We are asking the public to get involved in our campaign on World Cancer Day, as together we can shape policy change that will improve and save lives.”
 
To advocate for change that will benefit cancer patients and their families, our dedicated General Election webpage at www.cancer.ie/cancer-gap contains an e-mail your candidate function, where visitors can tell candidates to put the Cancer Gap at the top of the agenda, along with a helpful canvass card to present to candidates when they call to the door.
 
“The next government has an opportunity to close the Cancer Gap and to take action to ensure that everyone has an equal opportunity to live a healthy life.  Our collective action can make this a reality.”
 

Find out how you can help close the cancer gap