The Irish Cancer Society has donated €50,000 to HSE’s St. Luke’s General Hospital, Kilkenny. The funding will be used to purchase equipment that will help develop colorectal symptomatic and screening services in the hospital. This will support the continued rollout of the bowel cancer screening programme.
BowelScreen is a Government-funded service delivered by the National Cancer Screening Service (NCSS), which began offering free bowel cancer screening to people aged 60 to 69 in 2012. In the longer term, it is planned to extend the programme to those aged 55 to 74. The donation from the Irish Cancer Society will help increase the capacity of the hospitals to respond to the increased demand for colonoscopies arising from the BowelScreen programme.
Donal Buggy, Head of Services, Irish Cancer Society said, “The Irish Cancer Society is delighted to be able to support the development of colorectal services with the donation. The funding is part of a €1 million donation which we have made available to support the expansion of colorectal services in hospitals around Ireland. We committed to making this contribution towards the rollout of the bowel cancer screening programme in 2009, as an expression of our commitment to ensuring that this vital service was rolled out at a time when Government was cutting spending and services.
“We have campaigned for a bowel cancer screening programme that is available to everyone between the ages of 55 to 74 for many years. We are pleased that BowelScreen has begun and that we are in a position to provide funding to support the expansion of the programme. Bowel cancer screening has the potential to save lives by detecting cancers at an early and treatable stage and we believe that is essential that it is available to all who need it. Screening has commenced and will be offered to people aged 60 to 69 over the coming years. We hope that our investment in the programme will mean that screening is extended to cover the full 55 to 74 age year group as quickly as possible.”
Dr. Garry Courtney, Clinical Director/Consultant Physician at St Luke’s said “We are absolutely delighted to receive this donation to purchase additional equipment which will greatly enhance our ability to provide a high quality screening service here in Carlow & Kilkenny. We very much appreciate this support for a major component of our work, undertaking diagnostic testing for colorectal cancer”
St. Luke’s has commenced colorectal screening and the primary objective of the screening is to detect pre-cancerous adenomas in the lining of the bowel, thereby making colorectal screening a truly preventative health measure.
Bowel cancer is the second most common cause of cancer death in Ireland. Each year over 2,000 people in Ireland are diagnosed with bowel cancer and 900 people die from it. One of the reasons for this is that more than half of people with bowel cancer are diagnosed in the later stages of the disease which means that they require more complex treatment and have a poorer chance of survival. The good news is that bowel cancer is treatable if caught in time and screening helps detect bowel cancer at an early stage. Bowel cancer screening means that fewer people will develop the disease in the first place, that more of those who do can be treated successfully and that fewer people will die from bowel cancer.
The funding for the donation comes from a private bequest which was made to the Society. “We are grateful to our donors and supporters who make it possible for us to work towards a future without cancer by ensuring that life-saving measures like bowel cancer screening are in place”, Mr. Buggy said.
The Irish Cancer Society advises people who are concerned about bowel cancer or who have been experiencing bowel symptoms for four weeks or more to contact their GP immediately. People who are concerned about bowel cancer can also speak in confidence with a specialist cancer nurse by calling the Irish Cancer Society’s National Cancer Helpline on Freefone 1800 200 700.