Date Published: 15 January 2010

Irish Cancer Society says announcement of Bowel Cancer Screening for over 60's is a good start

Health News from Ireland

The Irish Cancer Society said today that the announcement by Minister Mary Harney of a bowel cancer screening for the 60 - 69 age group is a good start but is seeking a commitment for a more comprehensive programme to include the 55 to 74 age group.

The Society, which has offered ?1m to the Government towards the rollout of a full screening programme, will now seek detailed discussions on the how the Society's funds will be spent.

John McCormack, CEO of the Irish Cancer Society said,

" We took the unusual step of offering funds to the Government towards the rollout of bowel cancer screening arising from our commitment to having a screening programme rolled out as a matter of urgency, so clearly we welcome today's announcement.

However it does fall short of a comprehensive screening programme and we will be seeking assurances from the Minister for the completion of the rollout as soon as possible to include the 55 to 74 age group.

The decision to carry out screening colonoscopies using the resources in the existing hospital makes economic sense in the current climate, but we must ensure that the problem of waiting times for colonoscopies, which we have highlighted for many months now, is tackled before any screening colonoscopies take place. This is to ensure that the symptomatic service is not undermined in any way by the use of the hospital network to deliver bowel screening.

Waiting times for colonoscopies are still unacceptably long in many of the country's large hospitals with an increase in waiting times in recent months. There are now 911 patients waiting longer than three months for a colonoscopy even though the Minister herself instructed the HSE to ensure that the waiting time would not be longer than four weeks.?


Source: The Irish Cancer Society.

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