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04 Dec 2021

Report reveals childhood cancer diagnosis costs families €15,300

New report reveals childhood cancer diagnosis costs families €15K

Roseanna Ruane: ‘I felt sick with worry and I honestly could not stop crying’ - (Image: Andrew Downes)

According to new research conducted by the Irish Cancer Society, a childhood cancer diagnosis can cost an average of €15,300 to Irish families. 

There are also additional hidden expenses added to that figure. 

On average, 200 children are diagnosed with cancer each year in Ireland. 

The Irish Cancer Society has released a report titled 'The Real Cost of Childhood and Adolescent Cancer' which includes survey findings from Core Research of 100 parents and guardians of a child who have experienced a childhood cancer diagnosis. 

According to the research, it shows there are significant expenses in addition to the childhood cancer diagnosis, with travel to treatment and costs associated with care.

CEO of the Irish Cancer Society, Averil Power said cancer is distressing at any age, but when a child or an adolescent is diagnosed with the disease, it throws the world off its axis.

"Survival is naturally the most important concern for families, but it is the scale of the financial misery layered on top of such a life-changing diagnosis that is the shocking finding from this research." she added. 

Hidden costs for families include childcare, play therapy sessions, and higher phone and broadband bills from spending more time away from home.

Averil said families often have to 'do without' as normal life goes out the window and household bills are left to build, leaving some in the position to use their life savings, take out additional loans, or ask others for financial help.

She said: "These families need more support so they can focus on their child and not have to worry about finances, or navigating their way through complex State supports and welfare entitlements."

The Irish Cancer Society is announcing new and extended supports for families affected by childhood cancer by increasing the Children’s Fund grant to €3,000 and making it easier to access so that more families can be supported through treatment.

Averil said: "We are extending our Volunteer Driver Service to children to help with transport costs, and we're making it easier for families to access our support by establishing an Irish Cancer Society nursing presence in Children’s Health Ireland, Crumlin as well as committing a substantial investment in children’s cancer research."

The Irish Cancer Society is calling for lifetime medical cards to be made available to survivors of childhood cancer, as well as the creation of a dedicated grant to cover non-medical expenses for families.

Roseanna Ruane, the mother of nine-year-old Saoirse Ruane who appeared on the Late Late Toy Show last year, said their family had to 'contend with financial worries at a frightening time'

"I wasn't going to leave her side, but that brought that added worry of how we would survive on one salary. The bills still have to be paid and that's the reality of it all. We were glad to be able to receive help from the Irish Cancer Society at the time, but more absolutely needs to be done to support families through such a difficult period." added Roseanna. 

For advice or access to resources provided by the Irish Cancer Society, the Freephone Support Line can be contacted on 1800 200 700.

Donations can be made here.

The Real Cost of Childhood and Adolescent Cancer can be read here.

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