By Caroline O’Doherty
NEW cancer cases are expected to increase by 50% over the next 15 years, the Irish Cancer Society announced yesterday
An estimated 22,000 new cases of cancer will be diagnosed in Ireland this year, and with the number of cases increasing by 1.5% every year, the figure could rise to 34,000 by 2020.
The Irish Cancer Society yesterday also announced an expansion of advice and information services to help patients and their families cope with the ordeal of cancer diagnosis and the often gruelling treatment involved.
The society already runs the National Cancer Helpline (1800-200700), which handles around 7,000 phone calls every year.
The expanded services are being re-branded as the Cancer Information Service.
They include CancerChat - a live chat room where queries will be dealt with by a cancer information service nurse on www.cancer.ie/chat - as well as a new prostate cancer information service.
The planned expansion of services relies heavily on funds raised on Daffodil Day - the annual fundraiser which is being held this year on Friday, March 24.
The organisation already provides cancer home care teams, hospital cancer liaison nurses and educational bursaries for nurses undertaking specialised cancer training.
Daffodil Day 2005 raised €2.9 million but this year’s target is €3m.
Irish Cancer Society’s chief executive John McCormack praised the generosity of the public in supporting the fundraiser over the past 19 years.
He added: "We’re delighted to announce the expansion and improvements in our cancer information service, which reflect the changing nature of the cancer arena and ever-increasing demand for complex information provided by experts."
Anyone who wants to help with Daffodil Day can do so by buying daffodils, donating daffodils, holding a daffodil coffee morning or being a volunteer daffodil seller.
* For further information call 1850- 606060.