The Group is chaired by Professor John Kennedy, Consultant Medical Oncologist, St James’s Hospital and brings together a range of experts in cancer control. It will report later this year.
Minister Varadkar has also set up a Cancer Patient Forum to facilitate a patient input to the development of a National Cancer Strategy for 2016-2025. Members of the public and other organisations will also be able to have their say on the new Cancer Strategy.
“Following the last two cancer strategies, the majority of people now survive cancer and survival rates continue to improve. The objective of the third strategy should be to bring Ireland in to the top tier of countries when it comes to cancer care,” Minister Varadkar said.
“The number of people surviving cancer is likely to increase significantly in the years to come. However, Ireland’s growing and ageing population also means that cancer incidence is expected to double between now and 2040. We are only now seeing the full benefits from setting up the Centres of Excellence and still face many challenges,” the Minister added.
Some of the issues which the new Strategy will address include:
• Minimising the rate of increase in cancer numbers through prevention measures, including initiatives promoted by Healthy Ireland aimed at keeping people healthier for longer;
• Ensuring that services for cancer treatment are on a par with the top international performers; and
• Improving the quality of life of people recovering from cancer.
Ms Sharon Foley, CEO of the Irish Hospice Foundation and Dr Karen Ryan, HSE Clinical Lead for Palliative Care are among the members of the Steering Group announced today.
Organisations and members of the public will be given an opportunity to input their views on a new National Cancer Strategy to the Steering Group through the Department of Health’s website www.health.gov.ie in the coming weeks.
The announcement of the Steering Group coincides with the publication of a peer review analysis of the previous strategy, ‘A Strategy for Cancer Control in Ireland’. The review was led by Professor Pádraig Warde of the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, Toronto and is published today on the Department of Health’s website.
The Minister welcomed the outcome of the evaluation report which noted that impressive progress has been made in the provision of cancer services in Ireland in the period since 2006. It also pointed to areas that require increased focus.