Action Cancer has launched an urgent appeal to raise £100,000 to enable it to open its doors once again, and welcome people who are on a cancer journey, and those yet to be diagnosed.
Northern Ireland’s leading cancer charity has detailed the human impact of closing its cancer services in the face of the current pandemic – and the problems it will face once it is again able to provide support.
Every month the charity provides 800 free breast screenings to women aged 40-49 and over the age of 70.
With a detection rate of six cancers per 1,000 screenings, this means that four women in Northern Ireland will have their cancer undetected every month the crisis continues.
Action Cancer provides 600 free face-to-face counselling and therapeutic sessions in over 15 towns and villages across Northern Ireland every month. With a duty of care to people with weakened immune systems, the charity can no longer deliver these services.
The mental health impact on cancer patients in the absence of these services and with the looming threat of Covid-19 is colossal.
Action Cancer’s Chief Executive Gareth Kirk said: “In the context of these uncertain and worrying times, we feel like the tap has been turned off.
“Action Cancer receives no Government funding, we rely on local individuals, families and businesses.
“Without people coming through our doors and with families forced to focus in on their own circumstances and job situations, our donations, the lifeblood of the services we offer, have been reduced to a trickle.
“But cancer is not going to go away. One in two of us will receive a cancer diagnosis in our lifetime.
“Our waiting lists will not go away, the demand will grow even more after this crisis has passed.
“Action Cancer is in survival mode and we need your help now, more than ever before. We will weather this storm, yet to hit the ground running we need something left in the tank.”