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Experts to debate tackling cancer

The conference is titled 'Cancer collaboration in action'

Northern Ireland's medical experts will meet on Wednesday to review how cancer can be tackled most effectively in the region - survival rates for some cancers in the province are lower than the best performing countries.

Wednesday, 20 February 2013
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Delegates will review recent developments within cancer services - including key areas of work in disease prevention, early detection, diagnosis and follow-up - at the conference in a bid to determine what areas resources should target.

'Cancer collaboration in action' is being hosted by the Public Health Agency (PHA), the Health and Social Care Board (HSCB) and the Northern Ireland Cancer Network (NICaN) at Mossley Mill, Newtownabbey.

Key speakers will be present from across the health and social care sector and various cancer charities.

Dr Miriam McCarthy, Consultant in Public Health Medicine at the PHA said that while cancer survival rates have increased significantly over the past 10-15 years, they cannot be complacent.

"International benchmarking projects show that the Northern Ireland survival rates for colorectal, lung and ovarian cancer lag behind the best performing countries," the expert highlighted.

"In addition, people who live in the 20% most deprived areas of Northern Ireland have cancer rates that are two to three times higher than those who live in the 20% most affluent areas."

There are around 9,000 new cases of cancer diagnosed each year in Northern Ireland which means more people than ever are living with cancer as a chronic illness, Dr McCarthy added.

"The purpose of the conference is to bring together those working in prevention and early detection, those responsible for the provision of clinical services and follow up support, and those working on cancer survivorship issues, to reflect on key developments within the field, and on whether the kind of collaboration that is so obviously required in effectively addressing the needs of those affected by cancer is operative here in Northern Ireland."