18th International Psycho Oncology Society Congress. 17th – 21st October 2016 Dublin, Ireland.

ICS Logo Please Visit The Irish Cancer Society Website For Further Information.


Our history shapes what we are today. It has been said that ‘great enterprises are not the product of large committees. They are rather the shared concept of a few minds that grasp a fundamental truth, and pursue it relentlessly to success.’

In the early 1960’s, a well-known Irish Physician, Professor Austin Darragh, was appalled to learn from statistics that 100 Irish people died each year from non-melanoma skin cancer. What was really shocking was the fact that these cancers were visible and 100% curable so 100 people a year in Ireland died because they did not know what to do. They lacked the knowledge, which could have saved them from unnecessary suffering and death. When Professor Darragh shared this fact with some friends of his, they decided to establish the ‘Irish Cancer Society’. The Society came into formal existence in 1963. Since 1963 the Irish Cancer Society has grown into the national charity for cancer care, the leading provider of all information relating to cancer prevention, detection, treatment and support. We also advocate for improvements in cancer services and we are the largest voluntary funded of cutting edge cancer research in Ireland. We rely on the generosity of the public for 94% of our income. Our fundraising initiatives are managed by our fundraising team and a huge base of volunteers, champions and campaigners in every corner of Ireland.


Our vision is that every person in Ireland will have access to the best possible cancer services, and will have the lowest risk of getting cancer, the highest survival rates and the best support and information available when affected by cancer. Our goals are focused around prevention, early detection and fighting cancer, with three programme areas to achieve them: advocacy, cancer services and research. It is estimated that approximately 29,000 new cases of cancer will be diagnosed in Ireland this year and 42,000 new cases by 2020. Cancer is a disease that knows no boundaries and has or will affect us all either directly or indirectly during our lifetime. In the wake of these startling figures, our cancer services are also going through a period of intense reform.


We aim to provide prompt access to high-quality, multidisciplinary care in eight designated specialist cancer centres, where the best, safest and most effective treatments are provided. We want to give patients the best opportunity for long term survival. We aim for an Ireland where fewer people get cancer and those that do will have better outcomes.

Our initiatives

We strive to give people in Ireland the necessary resources and support, so they can take responsibility for their health and embrace the lifestyle changes necessary to reduce their risk of cancer. We also work with the Government to make a more comprehensive and sustained effort to address our current health promotion and cancer prevention. Through our advocacy efforts, we ensure that everyone has access to comprehensive screening programmes (in cancers where screening has proven to be effective), and we're working with the Government to deliver a bowel cancer screening programmes in the near future. It is well documented that screening reduces the risk of certain cancers, allowing for detection at a pre-cancerous or early stage, before they have done harm. We also continue to encourage the Government to implement more progressive tobacco control measures, especially measures that will prevent the tobacco industry having access to young people. We're working to ensure a significant increase in the price of cigarettes, which is proven to reduce consumption, and which we foresee will discourage young people from starting to smoke.

Supporting those affected by cancer

We also provide the best scope and quality of patient care, treatment and support services, ensure equity of access to everyone, regardless of geographic location, age, sex, social or ethnic background. We want ensure that everyone achieves the best possible outcomes regarding cancer survival and quality of life. Through the Cancer Nurseline, our Support Services and Health Promotion initiatives, we reach out to thousands of people, advising them how to take steps to prevent cancer and significantly reduce their risk of developing it. With these services and our range of free, nationwide community and hospital-based patient care services, we also support people diagnosed with cancer at every stage of their difficult journey. Of course, none of the work of our founders or of our staff today would be possible without the ceaseless energy and highly motivated efforts of our many volunteers, supporters, donors and friends.

If you wish to discover more about the history of the Irish Cancer Society please Click Here

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