Mayo cancer patients seek counselling within one year of diagnosis

The Irish Cancer Society has published a report on its National Counselling Grants Programme which reveals that 45 per cent of Mayo cancer patients who availed of the service in Mayo Cancer Support Association sought counselling less than one year after a cancer diagnosis. Another 24 per cent of clients required counselling within two years of diagnosis, highlighting the need for emotional support following the completion of treatment.

The report focuses on the Irish Cancer Society’s affiliation programme which granted funds to 17 affiliated community based cancer support services across the country to provide professional counselling in 2012. In total, the society gave €219,840 in grants to affiliated support centres last year and funded 202 counselling sessions in Mayo.

This latest report demonstrates the extent of emotional issues which Mayo cancer patients are presenting with during and in the aftermath of their illness. The counselling service, which is available to anyone affected by a cancer diagnosis, saw almost a quarter (24 per cent ) of clients in Mayo looking for support following the trauma of their illness, and 13 per cent who were suffering from anxiety and fear as a result of their diagnosis.

The effect of cancer is wider than the immediate person diagnosed, with 37 per cent of clients attending as relatives of a cancer patient and a further 10 per cent as a partner or a spouse. A significant 31 per cent of the clients who used the counselling service in the Mayo Cancer Support Association were also bereaved due to cancer, again highlighting the need for support the in the months and years after the immediate impact of the illness.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, females are also more likely to attend for professional counselling than males, with 69 per cent of female clients attending in Mayo in 2012 compared to 31 per cent of males. Half of those who used the service were between the ages of 41 and 60.

Cancer patients and their relatives can find their nearest affiliate support centre providing this service by logging on to www.cancer.ie/how-we-can-help/support or call the Irish Cancer Society Freefone Helpline on 1800 200 700. To support the Irish Cancer Society in the provision of practical and emotional support for cancer patients, contact the fundraising team on Callsave 1850 60 60 or visit www.cancer.ie to make a donation.

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