Urgent support needed following the pandemic's effect on cancer screening services

15 July 2022 | Friday | News

Dry July call to arms will improve support for cancer patients
Image Source : Public Domain

Image Source : Public Domain

Dry July Foundation is urging Australians to dig even deeper this Dry July to help people affected by cancer. So many Australians could not access vital lifesaving cancer screenings and treatments because of the impact of COVID-19. Research conducted by Cancer Council revealed 42%[1] of cancer patients experienced some form of care disruption during the pandemic.

Dry July Foundation Chairman Ian Elliot said, "Each year, we raise money to support the wellness, emotional and comfort needs of Australians dealing with cancer. Sadly, because of the pandemic, the needs are growing faster than our ability to meet them. So while we are grateful to the tens of thousands of Aussies going dry this July and for the funds they will raise, we are now asking for extra help from the broader public to ensure we don't let anyone down. People can visit dryjuly.com and donate to top up the effort of those going without a drink, and more importantly, ease the journey of those dealing with their cancer diagnoses."

Many cancer diagnoses and treatments were delayed because of the impact of COVID-19, which has created a backlog of people seeking treatment. Additional research by Cancer Australia indicated that because of the pandemic, surgical treatments for skin cancers were down by 18%, and non-surgical treatments were down by 30%, while Mammograms and MRI investigations for breast cancer screenings fell by 37%.[2]

Additional research by the Cancer Council conducted during the pandemic showed that health professionals and people affected by cancer experienced increased psychological distress, loneliness, isolation and financial distress. The pandemic has also created widespread challenges for the broader health system, including disruptions to vital screening services, delays in treatment and increased burdens for patients and carers.

Gemma Lock, Chair of Cancer Council Australia's Supportive Care Committee, said, "over the past two years, COVID-19 has caused interruptions to cancer screening programs."

"Cancer patients and their families have experienced delays in diagnoses and planned surgeries, combined with the reduced access of support persons to those receiving regular treatment. People affected by cancer continue to experience feelings of separation and increased distress. Cancer Council's 13 11 20 information and support line, proudly supported by Dry July Foundation, provides access to emotional support, information and linkage with services to help reduce this distress during a cancer diagnosis."

Dry July Foundation challenges Australians to go alcohol-free during July to raise funds for local and national cancer support organisations, including Cancer Council, to deliver practical, tangible support services for cancer patients, their families and carers.

Ashleigh Oliver, Dry July Foundation spokesperson, said, "Whilst cancer is an individual diagnosis, it has a ripple effect through their families, friends and workplaces. Our beneficiaries deliver cancer services and programs across Australia; now more than ever, they need our funding to assure continuity of those services."

By donating to Dry July Foundation, you can enable continued support for cancer patients, their family, friends and carers, which is so important right now.

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