Q Radio News
This Saturday (February 4) on World Cancer Day, leading local charity Cancer Focus Northern Ireland’s choir will take part in the highly anticipated Choirs for Cancer 2023 event hosted in University College of Dublin.
The 2023 World Cancer Day theme of Uniting Voices and Taking Action couldn’t be more appropriate for the Cancer Focus NI Sing for Life Choir as they celebrate 10 long years since their inception and have only gone from strength to strength, supporting each other through their own difficult cancer journeys.
Ernie Smyth is one choir member who knows how life-changing and transformative the charity’s choir has been in his life, travelling weekly from Cookstown to Belfast to ensure he never misses a practice. Ernie explained: “I was diagnosed with oesophageal cancer 6 years ago, and during my chemotherapy treatment I decided to join the Sing for Life choir. It made a big difference to my mental health as much as anything, and it helped me overcome the difficult road that was ahead. The actual exercise of singing helped my breathing which was greatly affected by my surgery, it was like a form of physio.”
Cancer Focus NI continues to urge people this World Cancer Day to become familiar with the main signs and symptoms of cancer, to contact their GP immediately if they have any concerns, and to attend cancer screening when called. Anthony Stuart, Cancer Focus NI Community Wellbeing Manager, encourages everyone to get involved in healthy New Year resolutions: “With the cancer prevalence statistics now showing that 1 in 2 people will receive a cancer diagnosis in their lifetime, it is more important than ever to take steps to reduce your risk.”
Anthony continues: “The good news is that 40% of cancers can be prevented if you maintain a healthy lifestyle, have regular health checks and use screening services. By being UV aware, quitting smoking, limiting your alcohol intake, being physically active and eating a healthy diet, we can all reduce our risk of getting cancer. It is never too late to start benefiting from positive lifestyle changes.”
Cancer Focus NI has a number of vital support services to help local people and their families affected by cancer. These services include counselling, family support, specialist bra fitting, art therapy and a patient driving service. The charity offers a range of health improvement services including the Keeping Well vans, stop smoking service, schools' programmes and skin cancer prevention work, and also funds local pioneering research at Queen’s University Belfast.