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Charity in cancer appeal to Stormont politicians

A cancer charity has taken its fight for better services for cancer patients to Stormont — calling for all political parties to put the issue at the top of their election manifestos.

With 60,000 people of voting age fighting the deadly disease at any one time in Northern Ireland, Macmillan Cancer is calling on Stormont to ensure they get the support and advice they need.

Last year the Belfast Telegraph revealed some terminally ill cancer patients are burning their personal possessions just to stay warm because they cannot afford their fuel bills.

Financial support for cancer patients is a key issue that needs to be addressed, Macmillan Cancer has said.

As the political parties gear up for the Assembly elections in May, the charity has called for them to ensure that every patient has access to a clinical nurse specialist from the time they are diagnosed.

These skilled nurses are responsible for co-ordinating patient care and making sure patients have access to personalised information, advice and support. They are also the key to a more efficient cancer service.

The charity is also demanding that patients are given routine access to cancer information and financial help. Better post-treatment care is also required to help patients get their lives back on track.

As part of their fight for improvements to cancer services, a short film calling for reforms will be unveiled to an audience of MLAs at a special event at Stormont this evening.

Heather Monteverde, Macmillan’s general manager for Northern Ireland, said: “It is 100 years since Douglas Macmillan founded his charity to support cancer patients. Since then, we have strived to develop services in response to the needs of everyone affected by cancer.

“The growing voice of these cancer patients is also one that politicians looking for re-election cannot ignore.

“This is why we are urging the Assembly to work with us.”

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