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60% rise in demand for cancer society’s children’s fund

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The Irish Cancer Society has seen a 60% increase in the number of people applying for its children’s fund.

This relates to a one-off €3,000 grant, provided to families following a childhood cancer diagnosis.

The charity’s CEO Averil Power said families whose children are being treated for cancer are struggling with not just the physical and emotional aspects of the diagnosis, but also the added financial costs they face.

Speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, she said the organization’s research has shown that families of children with cancer are facing €8,000 on average in costs for medication, transportation, accommodation, education and childcare.

This is on top of reduced income when a parent takes time off work to care for their sick child.

Ms Power said the Irish Cancer Society is calling on the Government to do more to help families.

Inpatient charges for children have been removed but, Ms. Power said, it is important that other charges related to hospital visits, such as parking, also end. In addition, she said, medical cards should cover more things such as prosthetics.

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The charity has also increased its grant to families to €3,000, which has seen overall spending on that go from €90,000 last year to €450,000 this year, she explained.

On cancer screening, Ms Power said it has been very successful and does catch many cases at an early stage leading to treatment sooner.

The Irish Cancer Society has urged the Government to roll out lung cancer screening.

“I think it’s fantastic that we have things like this, that we have the HPV vaccine now that can stop people getting cancer at all in the first place or catch it really early before it becomes a problem,” she said.

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