Cancer Focus Northern Ireland, Belfast

Cancer Focus Northern Ireland Contact Details

028 9066 3281
028 9066 8715
40-44 Eglantine Avenue
County Antrim

About Cancer Focus Northern Ireland

Cancer Focus Northern Ireland is a local cancer charity working since 1969 to reduce the impact of cancer on people’s lives. We provide care and support services for cancer patients and their families; offer a range of cancer prevention programmes to help people lessen their risk of getting cancer; fund scientific research into the causes and treatment of the disease and campaign for better health policy to protect our community and its future.

We know that 1 in every 2 of us is likely to be diagnosed with cancer at some point in our lives.  We have seen strides made in cancer research into new and better treatments and strong promotion of the early signs and symptoms of cancer leading to earlier diagnosis. Both of these activities have contributed to a much better prognosis for cancer patients in Northern Ireland with more people going on to live full lives after their treatment has ended.

 This has led to greater demand for the services provided by Cancer Focus NI. Each year we support 5,800 local people affected by cancer, provide 4,000 counselling services, answer 2,000 helpline enquiries to 0800 783 3339, support 180 children whose parent is living with cancer and hold 600 art therapy sessions.

We help your community take positive steps to a healthier life to lower their risk of cancer. Every year we help 68,000 children through school and nursery visits, provide community health events for 28,000 people, deliver our stop smoking service to 4,000 smokers and provide professional training to 500 healthcare professionals.

We are determined to bring a more hopeful future by funding ground breaking research. We have invested over £11m in local cancer research, provided funding to set up the Dept. of Oncology at Queens University Belfast, backed research to reduce risk of breast and ovarian cancer in women with BRCA1 gene and funded public services based on research by Ulster University.

We deliver campaigns to increase cancer awareness and work with politicians and decision makers to develop legislation that helps us look after our own health.

Cancer Focus Northern Ireland News

May 17, 2017
Cancer Focus NI welcomes standardised packaging for tobacco

From Saturday 20 May 2017, all tobacco sold in Northern Ireland must be in new-style ‘plain’ packaging. Cigarettes and tobacco will no longer be sold in bright, glitzy packs but will be in drab green packages with larger picture warnings about the dangers of smoking. This follows a year’s grace period while old-style branded packs were phased out. Gerry McElwee, Head of Cancer Prevention, Cancer Focus Northern Ireland, said the move would protect children from attractive branding and support smokers who wish to quit. “We’ve been campaigning for this legislation for many years and are delighted to see it come into effect at long last. “The new standardised packaging legislation will help safeguard many children and young people from the devastating effects of smoking and will encourage adults to stop,” he said. “It’s vital we stop the tobacco industry from recruiting yet more children and young people as users of their deadly product. For the next generation growing up, putting the branding out of sight and out of mind should help put smoking out of fashion. “There is no room for complacency, however. While the number of smokers is falling, rates among the most disadvantaged remain high, so there is still much to be done.”
May 17, 2017
Countdown to 12th Annual Fun Run of the Glens cycle

The countdown has started to next month’s annual Fun Run of the Glens (FROG) charity cycle for Cancer Focus Northern Ireland. Hundreds of cyclists from across Northern Ireland are taking part in the popular ride through the scenic Glens of Antrim on Saturday 17th June – but there’s still time to sign up. Glenravel man Paul McToal, who has been a key organiser of the event since 2007, said: “We want to make this year’s FROG bigger and better than ever before, so if you need some exercise and want to help others, why not get involved? “We’ve raised over £200,000 for charity over the years with the number of cyclists and the amount raised growing year on year, which is a huge testament to the enthusiasm and generosity of everyone involved. “We want to make this the best event so far – but we need your help, so please saddle up!” Emma McArdle, Challenge Events Manager, Cancer Focus NI, said: “This is such a scenic fun cycle. It’s one of our most important fundraising events of the year, so it’s very important to us. The more cyclists who join in, the more people with cancer we can help. “Every penny raised will go towards supporting our work in the community which includes cancer support groups, family support, a free Nurseline on 0800 783 3339, a bra-fitting service for women who’ve had breast surgery, art therapy, creative writing and other therapeutic and complementary services,” she said. “We also have Keeping Well vans that bring health checks and advice into the heart of communities and we fund major research into breast cancer at Queen’s University Belfast. “All Cancer Focus NI services are provided free of charge for cancer patients and their families but we do need public support to help raise the necessary funds to continue our valuable work, so please gear up and have a great day out with us.” Now in its 12th year, the cycle routes range from a leisurely 25 miles or a challenging 50 miles to a more serious 100 mile trip. This year there is also a static FROG - a series of back-to-back 60 minute spin classes throughout the day, so there really is something for everyone. Participants who raise a minimum amount for the charity will also receive a special commemorative cycle top, and lunch and refreshments are provided on the day to keep everyone refuelled. For further details about the event and to sign up, visit the FROG facebook page
Feb 23, 2017
Cancer Focus NI welcomes Assembly support for smoking ban in cars carrying children

Leading local charity Cancer Focus Northern Ireland today welcomed the Assembly’s vote supporting legislation to ban smoking in cars carrying children. An amendment to the Health (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill got unanimous support from the Assembly yesterday and the legislation could be in place by next year. Gerry McElwee from Cancer Focus NI said: “Tobacco is the single biggest cause of preventable deaths in Northern Ireland. Second-hand smoke contains a cocktail of carcinogens including arsenic, formaldehyde and benzene and exposure increases rates of illness, hospital admission and death. “Children are particularly vulnerable, but no one is immune from its effects. Smokefree legislation in 2007 has been very successful in protecting adults. It was our concern that nine years later, we still hadn’t taken steps to protect children in situations where they have little choice. “Smoke free legislation has popular support. Cancer Focus NI was a partner in a UK wide YouGov survey in 2012 which found that 80% of people supported a ban on smoking in cars where children are present. “Public support was higher here than in GB, so we’re delighted that we will now have similar legislation to England Wales Scotland and the Republic.” Cancer Focus NI recently presented evidence to the Health committee, calling for the Assembly to legislate to introduce a ban on smoking in vehicles carrying children. Mr McElwee added: “As well as support for this particular ban, we very much welcome the calls by some MLAs for a long term, sustained, comprehensive tobacco control strategy. “This is an approach Cancer Focus NI has called for in its recently launched Manifesto. In the next Programme for Government, we want to see the Northern Ireland Executive commit to a tobacco-free Northern Ireland by 2035, and put in place all necessary steps to make this a reality.”
Dec 9, 2016
Cancer Focus NI receives award for excellence in health promotion

Cancer Focus Northern Ireland and Choice Housing Ireland have won a major health award for their work with older people. The charity’s Keeping Well project scooped top place in the Engaging for Change in the World Health Organisation (WHO) Belfast Healthy City’s Awards. Well Aware is an award-winning public health programme aimed at empowering people over 60 to be aware of the causes, signs and symptoms of cancer and to take control over their own health. The sessions involve an awareness raising talk discussing key healthy living issues and health checks. Dervilia Kernaghan, Well Aware Project Coordinator, Cancer Focus NI, said: “We are delighted to have won this award and hope that it makes more people aware that we are here to help. “We provide sessions in community and supported living accommodation across Belfast, and in fact across Northern Ireland. All Clanmill and Choice Housing Ireland schemes in the city have been visited and we are currently working in partnership with FOLD housing. “In the third year of the project alone, 940 people attended sessions and 716 health checks have been carried out across Northern Ireland. Those who have taken part say that they now have a much better awareness of cancer.” Lord Mayor of Belfast Brian Kingston said: “It is important to recognise the excellent work ongoing on a daily basis across our city to promote a healthier lifestyle. “These awards are an important way of sharing experience and acknowledging the efforts of community organisations and public sector bodies who often work in partnership for the betterment of all. I congratulate all those who entered the awards and who continue to work for a positive Belfast. ”
Sep 29, 2016
Pink Colour Run for breast cancer research

Local Cancer Focus Northern Ireland supporter Donna Owens is urging local people to take part in the charity’s 5k Pink Colour Run in October – breast cancer awareness month. The pink run, open to all ages and abilities, will take place at Victoria Park in east Belfast at 12 noon on October 30. Donna is a keen runner and fundraiser for Cancer Focus NI – also volunteered to be on a poster girl for the fundraising campaign. She said: “This is a brilliant, fun chance to raise vital money for local breast cancer research which the charity is funding at Queen’s University Belfast (QUB). “The Pink Colour Run is suitable for all ages, so please sign up whether you’re a runner, jogger or walker and get covered head to toe in pink powder - turn yourself pink for local breast cancer research. “There will even be entertainment on the way around with a live DJ and a warm-up at 12 noon to get you started. “The event is open to women, men and children, so grab your friends, family or work colleagues and join in the fun.” Emma McArdle, Challenge Events manager at Cancer Focus NI, said: “Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women in Northern Ireland. Every year 1,200 are diagnosed and 300 lose their lives. “All the money raised will go towards funding our research at QUB. Just £200 will fund half a day’s research which could make a huge difference to women who have the mutant BRCA1 gene which gives them an 85% chance of developing breast cancer. “Even the smallest donation will help researchers explore better ways of preventing the disease and find alternative treatments for these women who at present have to consider breast removal to drastically lower their risk.” Registration is £15 per person. There is no fundraising target but Cancer Focus NI is asking participants to raise as many PINK pounds as possible. You can sign up for this event online at
Oct 20, 2015
Cancer Focus NI is a first at RSPH public health award

Cancer Focus Northern Ireland is the first local charity to receive recognition for its excellent achievements at the prestigious Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH) annual awards. A total of 26 organisations from across the UK were presented with awards for their work in health and wellbeing - but Cancer Focus NI is the first Northern Ireland organisation to be honoured in the award’s eight year history. Cancer Focus NI received its award for best practice in its wide-ranging work in cancer prevention and care services, particularly the Well Aware service, which brings health checks to older people in the community and raises awareness of the signs and symptoms of the disease. The Well Aware team has visited thousands of residents at sheltered accommodation and community venues all over Northern Ireland. Dervilia Kernaghan, Cancer Focus NI Well Aware Project Coordinator, said: “We are delighted to have been recognised by the RSPH. As we grow older our risk of cancer increases with around 75% of diagnoses in the over 60s. Because of this, Cancer Focus NI felt it was vitally important to offer health improvement services targeting this age group. “Our aim is to empower older people to take control of their own health and to feel confident enough to speak to a doctor if they have any concerns. We’re delighted with the positive response we’ve had since the project started two years ago. It’s obvious we are filling a need among some of the most vulnerable in our society.” She added: “Our key messages to everyone, regardless of age, are don’t smoke, eat a healthy diet, limit alcohol, exercise regularly, take care in the sun and take up cancer screening when invited.” Shirley Cramer, CEO of RSPH, said: “The RSPH has a long history of promoting good practice in public health and we are proud of our Health and Wellbeing Awards, which provide a stage to celebrate the great work of organisations regardless of their sector, size and setting. “It was an extremely competitive field this year and I would like to congratulate our 2015 winners who are all exemplars of innovative, progressive programmes to improve the health and wellbeing of individuals and communities. I hope that their effective programmes will be adopted and celebrated elsewhere.” There were entries from local authorities, health organisations, education providers, social enterprises, voluntary/charity organisations and private sector organisations all over the UK. Well Aware is a partnership between Cancer Focus NI and Choice Housing and is funded by the Big Lottery Fund. For more information or to arrange a Well Aware visit, email or call 028 9068 0743. To book the Cancer Focus NI Keeping Well health check van for your workplace or organisation, call 028 9066 3281 or email If you have any concerns about cancer call the free, local Cancer Focus NI helpline on 0800 783 3339.
Sep 19, 2015
Statement from Cancer Focus NI on Health Minister's announcement of £1.5m for new drugs

Roisin Foster, Chief Executive of Cancer Focus Northern Ireland, today gave a cautious welcome to the Health Minister’s announcement of an extra £1.5m for specialist drugs, including some cancer-related drugs. Mrs Foster, however, warned that more needed to be done. Cancer Focus NI is spearheading a campaign for local cancer patients to have the same access to specialist cancer drugs as patients in the rest of the UK, and is calling for a specialist cancer drugs fund to be set up for Northern Ireland. Mrs Foster said: “We are pleased to hear there has been some progress in this area. This £1.5m will go some way to improving the situation for some patients but there is a much wider need for more specialist drugs that needs to be addressed. “We are also currently awaiting the outcome of a public consultation on the unsatisfactory Individual Funding Request system which exists at present. “Each day 25 people in Northern Ireland are diagnosed with cancer and 11 people die from the disease. We are trying to get the best possible outcome for these people so they can live as well and as long as they can after a cancer diagnosis.”

Reviews of Cancer Focus Northern Ireland

Star Rating
Beverly Kingcaid
March 14, 2017
Fantastic charity that does make a difference in the lives of people affected by cancer. Keep up the hard work x.
Star Rating
Michael S.
December 10, 2016
Incredible organisation and such an amazing group of volunteers. They are so good at what they do and I know from personal experience they really do help they people they work with. Thank you so much for everything you have done for my family and everyone else touched by this horrible disease.

Location of Cancer Focus Northern Ireland near Belfast, Northern Ireland

Cancer Focus Northern Ireland Branches
2 Market Street, Bangor
028 91479550
559 Lisburn Road, Belfast
028 9066 6010
16 Regent Street, Newtownards
028 91817688
14-16 The Diamond, Londonderry
028 7126 5425