IRELAND'S cancer care
chiefs have written to campaigners in Donegal
confirming that patients requiring palliative
radiation treatment can be considered on an
individual basis for treatment in Belfast.
Interim director for the National Cancer Control
Programme Professor Tom Keane also gave an
undertaking to Co-Operating for Cancer Care (NW)
that he would address their concerns regarding
Donegal cancer patients' access to palliative
"As we all know in Donegal, in the absence of a
radiotherapy unit in the North West region, cancer
patients requiring radiotherapy as part of their
treatment must travel to either Dublin or Galway and
many patients make these journeys for several weeks
until their treatment is completed.
"For cancer patients this extensive travelling
imposes additional stress and distress on their and
their family’s lives," said CCC(NW) spokesperson
“However, for some cancer patients, travelling long
distances to Dublin or Galway is just too stressful
and they do not avail of this form of treatment.
Such a group of patients includes those requiring
Ms Duddy said CCC(NW) was pleased that Professor
Keane and the health authorities had recognised the
needs of Donegal palliative cancer patients.
"We acknowledge that access to Belfast is with
limitations but it is a positive action that will
offer some palliative cancer patients a choice of
accessing treatment much nearer to home. It is a
small step but it is a start and a small step in the
“The difficulties experienced by patients requiring
palliative radiotherapy, highlights the need for a
radiotherapy unit in the North West. CCC(NW)
supports the provision of a cross border satellite
radiation unit for the North West region’s
population. It is our understanding that the
business plan for this project will be on the table
of both health ministers very shortly. Professor
Keane fully supports Minister Harney regarding this
matter," added Culdaff-based Ms Duddy.