Cancer Focus Northern Ireland



Think Pink! for Breast Cancer

Our Think Pink! campaign runs during October, breast cancer awareness month.

Breast Cancer is now the most common form of cancer in women in Northern Ireland.

Over 1,000 women are diagnosed with the disease each year, but survival rates are steadily improving.  Today, there are around 10,000 women with a diagnosis of breast cancer living in Northern Ireland.

During the month of October we highlight the help available to women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer.

Watch this video to find out about some of our services or click here to read more.

We also raise awareness of the signs and symptoms of breast cancer using women’s personal experiences.  We share their stories to encourage others who are going through a similar experience.

Throughout the month there are many Think Pink! fundraising events from coffee mornings to fashion shows and everything in between!  They help us raise funds to ensure that we can continue to provide our services free of charge.  All money raised is spent solely in Northern Ireland.

Our key fundraising event is the annual Think Pink! Luncheon.  This is a glittering and uplifting event with a special guest speaker. Please click here to find out how you can help support our Think Pink! breast cancer awareness campaign.

You can download our Breast Cancer Awareness leaflet here.

For more information about Cancer Focus please email or call 028 9066 3821.


Every September we raise awareness of lymphoma – cancer of the lymphatic system, part of the circulatory system.

There are two basic types of lymphomas – Hodgkin’s lymphoma and Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.  Lymphoma has one of the fastest rising incidence rates of any cancer, affecting more than 1,000 local people and researchers are working hard to discover its exact cause.

With more than 35 known types of lymphoma we want to make sure that people are aware of the most common symptoms.  These include painless swelling of the lymph nodes in the neck, armpits or groin; night sweats, high temperatures or fever, tiredness and persistent fatigue, coughs and breathlessness or an itch over the body with no rash.

No Smoking Day


We use No Smoking Day in mid March to encourage smokers to quit by raising awareness of the dangers of smoking and the range of stop smoking services that we offer.  No Smoking Day in Northern Ireland is jointly organised by Cancer Focus Northern Ireland, the Public Health Agency (PHA) and British Heart Foundation (BHF) Northern Ireland – members of the local No Smoking Day Coordinating Group.

25% of adults in Northern Ireland smoke (360,000)  and research has shown that over two thirds would like to stop. Half of all smokers are killed by their addiction.  Smoking accounts for the deaths of 2,500 local people each year and it causes 1/3 of all cancers.  Stopping smoking is the most important thing that you can do to improve your health.

No Smoking Day is one of the best times for smokers to begin a smoke-free life.  Each year we work with pharmacies, dental practices, businesses and the public to raise awareness of No Smoking Day and help smokers kick the habit for good.  We help smokers plan their quit attempt and on No Smoking Day we offer quit tips, advice and support in shopping centres, bus/train stations and local businesses.

We work closely with the PHA, BHF NI, Health Trusts, Environmental Health and the voluntary sector to ensure that No Smoking Day remains highly successful in Northern Ireland.

Care in the Sun

Skin cancer is the most common cancer in Northern Ireland.  Around 2,500 people develop skin cancer each year, accounting for 28% of all cancers diagnosed.

Alarmingly, over a 25 year period the number of cases of malignant melanoma, the most aggressive form of skin cancer, has almost trebled. Melanoma is most common between the ages of 40-60 years but a significant number of cases occur in people under 35.

Research that we carried out shows that 8 out of 10 people do not apply sunscreen at home unless they are ‘actively’ sunbathing. Our message is that you don’t need to be sunbathing to get skin cancer – rather it is over-exposure to ultraviolet radiation (UVR) which can cause serious damage over time. It is important for everyone to avoid getting sunburned, particularly children.

Our top tips are: seek shade and avoid prolonged exposure when the sun is at its peak – 11am to 3pm; wear clothing and hats that protect against UVR; use sunscreen with a minimum SPF of 15 and apply liberally. These measures are essential, not just when travelling to the world’s sunspots, but even in the relatively milder weather conditions locally.

Check out this Care in the Sun video made by Northern Regional College students;

For more details on how to take Care in the Sun click on  or contact us on 028 9066 3281 or email

Mouth Cancer

In Northern Ireland approximately 175 people are diagnosed with mouth cancer every year, with more than one third dying from the disease.

Unfortunately 70% of mouth cancers are detected at a late stage because people are not aware of the warning signs which often results in lower chances of survival.  When detected early, mouth cancer patients experience survival rates of more than 90%.

Mouth cancer can appear most often as a painless ulcer that doesn’t heal.  In recent years we have trained 300 local dentists so that they can spot mouth cancer and we highlight the importance of providing smoking cessation support to their patients. Regular dental check-ups allow the dentist to look for any early warning signs of mouth cancer.

The main risk factors of mouth cancer are tobacco use and drinking alcohol and together these account for around 75% of mouth cancers.  In fact, people who both drink and use tobacco are up to 30 times more likely to develop the disease.




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