An urgent public appeal to “buy back time” for cancer patients by sponsoring lifesaving research, dangerously stalled by Covid-19, has been made by oncologists, patients, and researchers today to mark World Cancer Research Day.
New treatments can be brought to clinical trial which could save lives now, if funding is found, consultants say.
The public is urged to sponsor a research scientist’s time through the charity Breakthrough Cancer Research to quickly bring these new treatments on stream.
One person in Ireland dies every hour from cancer.
Breakthrough Cancer Research says this number will increase, as cancer screenings, treatments, and research have all lost months to-19.
Disruptions and delays in healthcare by the pandemic could result in a 20% increase in cancer deaths in England by 2025, recent research inOncology Journal found.
Although no official figures have been released on excess mortality in Ireland, there is concern that the Irish figure could be higher than the UK estimate as screening and some treatments remain disrupted here.
In Ireland, electronic referrals for cancer services decreased from 4,499 (January 2020) to 2,659 (April 2020), while eReferrals for radiology decreased from 5,077 (January 2020) to 1,485 (April 2020).
Consultants say that cancer should be treated as an equally important emergency as Covid-19.
Speaking at the launch of Breakthrough Cancer Research’s ‘Buy Back Time’ campaign, Dr Dearbhaile Collins, Consultant Medical Oncologist at Cork University Hospital and UCC, and cancer researcher, who leads clinical trials in Cork said: “We are calling on the public to once again support the medical profession.
"There's no vaccine for Covid yet but there are new treatments for cancer being
developed all the time and increased funding can help get them to patients sooner.”
Stage 4 cancer patient Kay Curtin said, “I’m aware that I’m living on borrowed time.
“The research that will keep me alive into the future has been stalled. I need researchers to find the next treatment that will buy me more time.
"I look to the future quite hopeful that, by the time I need it, there will be another option there for me.”
Donate to Breakthrough Cancer Research on www.breakthroughcancerresearch.ie/buybacktime or text BCR to 50300 to donate. Texts cost €4*.