NI ‘needs cancer strategy’ says CRUK

MLA Gordon Lyons.
MLA Gordon Lyons.

A Cancer Research UK officer says that the Northern Ireland government needs to develop a “comprehensive cancer strategy” to “focus resources where they’re most needed.”

Public Affairs Manager at CRUK Margaret Carr made the remarks during a visit by East Antrim DUP MLA Gordon Lyons to the Cancer Research UK Belfast Centre last week.

Researchers in Belfast are focusing on molecular pathology and bowel and prostate cancers, with the aim of turning new discoveries into better treatments.

Nearly 9,000 people in Northern Ireland are diagnosed with cancer every year. Survival rates in the UK have doubled in the last forty years and CRUK spent almost £3million on scientific and clinical research in Northern Ireland last year.

Ms Carr said: “Cancer survival rates in Northern Ireland in some cases are still lagging behind the best in Europe and too many cancers are diagnosed at an advanced stage, when they are harder to treat successfully.

“We have a thriving community of scientists in Belfast who are working tirelessly to bring forward the day when all cancers are cured. But it’s also vital that the Northern Ireland government acts swiftly to develop a comprehensive cancer strategy to be able to focus resources where they’re most needed.”

Mr Lyons witnessed the research by scientists and doctors, and heard how it will help save lives.

He said: “Like everywhere in Northern Ireland, cancer has a huge effect on families in East Antrim, so it has been fantastic to visit the Cancer Research UK Belfast Centre and hear more about how it is offering new hope to families in the capital and across Northern Ireland.”