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3 April 2003 Edition

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Cancer services unacceptable

Hundreds of people protested in Dublin at the weekend at the sorry state of cancer treatment services across the 26 Counties.

The protesters, who marched from Parnell Square to Government Buildings, were demanding more state funding for essential cancer services, particularily in the south and west. Speakers from the Cancer Care Alliance, comprised of cancer groups, the Irish Cancer Society, trade unions and medical and nursing organisations, told the crowd that a shocking one in three people in Ireland are diagnosed with cancer, and one in four of these are dying, 136 people every week.

Speakers slammed the government for the lack of funding for breast screening, radiotherapy, chemotherapy and palliative care. The Alliance is demanding a proper standard of radiotherapy and oncology services throughout the state, without the need for patients to travel to Dublin. Jane Bailey, a nurse from the south-east, said that only 20 percent of Irish patients receive radiotherapy when the takeup should be 66 percent. She added the just §23.5 million was given to the 11 health boards for cancer services this year, compared to §161 million to sporting organisations.

The Alliance is lobbying for an urgent meeting with the Taoiseach and Ministers for Finance and Health.

An Phoblacht
44 Parnell Sq.
Dublin 1

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