`Cancer In Society'


Sir, - I am prompted to write by your report of the recent case concerning a handbag snatch in Dublin (The Irish Times, October 13th). The Irish Cancer Society has no wish to comment on this case per se; however, in your report the crime was referred to in court as a "cancer in society" that "had to be stamped out".

Following this judgement, the society received a number of calls from members of the public who were quite disturbed at this statement, and while one can understand the sentiment being expressed, it was an unfortunate turn of phrase. There are more than 50,000 people in Ireland living with cancer. Every day the focus for them is to deal as positively as possible with this disease, and so it can be upsetting when their illness is seen in such negative terms.

We would therefore urge those in the public eye to be mindful of the use of the word "cancer" for fear of causing offence to patients and families, even unwittingly. - Yours, etc., Don Delaney,

Irish Cancer Society, Northumberland Road, Dublin 4.