New Donegal cancer care service to be opened in New Year

By Eamonn McFadden

Reporter:

By Eamonn McFadden

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eamonn.mcfadden@donegaldemocrat.com

New Donegal cancer care service to be opened in New Year

Richard Flaherty, Grainne McGettigan, Noel Cunningham, Cancer Care West Patron, Peter Culhane, Dr. Helen Greally and Clare Mc Donagh.

The New Year will see a new Cancer Support Centre open in Letterkenny it has been confirmed.

Cancer Care West’s new centre, which will be situated at Station House on Letterkenny’s Pearse Road near the Station Roundabout, will focus on Psycho-Oncology services.

Plans for the new centre were unveiled on Monday when Cancer Care West members and supporters outlined how the new facility will provide support services to those diagnosed with cancer and also their family members.

The charity will also be commencing a Psycho-Oncology service at Letterkenny University Hospital similar to the model it provides at University Hospital Galway (UHG).

The centre, which is due to open in January 2017, will operate on both a drop in and appointment basis and will offer psychological support, advice, and information to anyone affected by a cancer diagnosis. 

The centre will be initially staffed by one senior clinical psychologist and an oncology nurse to develop and run the service. There will also be a number of volunteers to support the running of the centre.

Dr Helen Greally said it is modelled on their service in Galway.

“It will be a drop in centre and they can come at all stages. A big part of this is that we will have people coming back home to Donegal after treatment but we will see people when they are newly diagnosed, or are in treatment or after treatment, and we see people with all kinds of cancers. There is no criteria about how you should be seen. We also see people that are affected by cancer, say with a family member who may have cancer, we want to see them as well, “ Dr Greally stated.

“There is a sizable number of people who need support,” she added.

Dr Greally said the services are  free, confidential and professionally run.

The centre, which is approx. 1,469 sq. ft, will comprise  two private counselling rooms, a library, kitchen area and open plan seating area that will have stylish homely furnishings.

Grainne McGettigan, regional fundraiser for the charity, stated:  “Iam  just very excited that this is happening and I’m hoping people will row in behind us and give us all the support  we need because the support centre is going to be so important to people who are undergoing cancer in any form and their families to come and get the support they need here. It is an open house and will be homely and comfortable”.

Charity patron Noel Cunningham also welcomed the news of the centre saying it was a significant development. 

“I have to say it is the most exciting development in any of the cancer services anywhere in the country and I hate to say it but the whole area of cancer care and aftercare for patients has been neglected by successive Governments,” he stated. 

The centre is expected to be opened in January.