Sir, - The present Government has allocated more than €100 million since 1997 to one of our sporting organisations. In the same period, cancer care, affecting 1:3 people in Ireland, killing 1:4 and with statistics set to double, received about the same: €103 million.
Little wonder, given the priority and allocation of funding, that a recent five-year report from the National Cancer Registry in the Republic showed strong evidence of huge inequalities in access to cancer treatment. It highlighted:
1. No reduction in mortality.
2. A high percentage of patients receiving no cancer-directed treatment of any kind.
3. Older people less likely to receive treatment.
4. Patients in areas not facilitated by radiotherapy less likely to receive treatment of note. Twenty per cent of all cancer patients receive radiotherapy when international figures suggest this should be 60 per cent.
While one in three of those who die below 65 in this country die from cancer, it is a huge indictment of our priorities when a third of that number have cancers that are preventable and a further third have cancers that could be cured.
It is my sincere hope that the media create the outcry that should rightfully take place at the lack of funding for cancer care because no shame, no blame and so no change is a disaster for every family in Ireland. - Yours, etc.,