Sinn Fein TD Brian Stanley has called on the government and the HSE to get cancer screening services ‘resumed immediately’.
According to Deputy Stanley, more than 248,000 people were screened in the first six months of 2019.
However, just 99,000 people have been screened in the first six months of 2020.
He said: “For people who may have symptoms of Cancer this has been a very stressful time waiting to be screened.
“But I do welcome the fact that we will soon have all Breast Check, Cervical Check, and Bowel Check services open by the end of this month.
“In the first six months of 2019, 248,223 people were screened for cancer, the figure for the same period of 2020 is just 99,000 less than 40%.
“What we now need following their reopening is a plan to catch up quickly to reduce the waiting list and this will need to be adequately funded. Sinn Féin has calculated that an additional €10 million is needed from the Department of Health.
“We need to assess each cancer screening facility and see what extra capacity is needed to meet demand.
“We must make cancer care a key priority over the next few months.
“I also want to note how important it is to monitor prostate cancer which 3,665 men were diagnosed with last year, the second most common male cancer.
“If detected early, over 93% of men will survive, but we need to have the screening services available and a speedy diagnosis.
“I would also like to address the backlog in cancer treatment services which is down about 30% on last year.
“Those who are diagnosed with cancer need to have quick access to diagnostic systems and cancer treatment. In the medium to long term this will ease the burden on the health services.
“If we can put in place the correct system and adequate capacity, early diagnosis, and early treatment will improve thousands of patients healthcare and quality of life.”