Strategy to tackle cancer unveiled

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Nathional Cancer InstituteNorthern Ireland - Ulster health chiefs today unveiled a variety of ways to dramatically improve cancer prevention in Northern Ireland.

Ahead of next week's three-day All-Ireland Cancer Conference at Belfast's Waterfront Hall, Paul Goggins unveiled a new Cancer Control Programme for Northern Ireland.

The Programme highlights the importance of lifestyle factors in preventing cancer and the need for the public to be more pro-active in reporting possible cancer symptoms at an early stage.

The report's recommendations span every aspect of cancer care and aim to improve the quality of cancer services across Northern Ireland.

Among them is that there is a need for referral guidance to help GPs identify those patients who require urgent referral to a specialist for assessment and investigation.

And primary care teams should have a central role in the ongoing management and support of cancer patients and their families.

Health chiefs say they want to reverse the current increase in the level of obesity in men and women so that by 2025, the proportion of men who are obese is less than 15% and the proportion of women who are obese is less than 17%.

Mr Goggins said: "It is vital that we do all that we can to control cancer, taking steps to improve the public's response to key health messages about prevention and the early detection of cancer and ensuring that our health and social care services deliver the best possible outcomes for patients from the resources that are available.

"Everyone has their part to play in meeting the challenge posed by cancer and this document marks an important step forward in meeting that challenge.

"The Cancer Control Programme provides a strategic context for the development of cancer services over the next decade and aims to deliver improvements in the treatment and care of cancer patients at every stage of their cancer journey.

"I would encourage members of the public, health service organisations and other healthcare professionals to take the opportunity to read the Cancer Control Programme and to make their views known through the consultation."

A regional framework for cancer services was commissioned by then Health Minister, Des Browne in 2003.

This work was then taken forward by a steering group, under the chairmanship of the then Chief Medical Officer, Dr Etta Campbell.

The Cancer Control Programme is the product of that work and represents the first element of a regional framework for cancer services.

Responses will be considered following a 12-week consultation period ending February 9 2007.

source - Belfast Telegraph 

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