Action Cancer was founded in 1973 by
George Edelstyn and is Northern Irelands leading, local, cancer charity.
Their mission is saving lives and
supporting people – this is done through cancer awareness, prevention,
detection, and support. Action Cancer
specialise in breast cancer.
What They Do
Action Cancer provide services like…
• free mammograms
• therapeutic services such as
counselling, coaching, and support groups
• peer mentoring
• complementary therapies and pain relief interventions
• M.O.T. health checks
• research into cancer
• information and advice on cancer, health, and general wellbeing
• education and prevention programmes
• health promotion programmes
• campaigning and lobbying on cancer related issues to develop
legislation and policy in Northern Ireland
Action Cancer helps save and support
50,000 people across Northern Ireland every year through the delivery of these
There are 82 members of staff and 400
volunteers employed at Action Cancer.
There are three broad sectors in the
• Fundraising and Communications
• Professional services
I was in the professional services sector,
more specifically, research and evaluation, working as a research and
Why My Role Is Important
Action Cancer need to raise £3.5 million
per year to continue to deliver their services. They receive no government
funding and rely on public donations. For this reason, it is important for them
to effectively manage their resources. This means continuously assessing and
revising their programmes and services so donations are used as wisely as
My role as a research and evaluation
officer involved evaluating the Why Weight? lifestyle change programme and
writing up a scientific report to illustrate whether it was making a
difference. My report will establish whether its a worthwhile service.
My duties and Responsibilities Included
• Data audit/ quality assurance checks
• Data Inputting
• Data analysis
• Literature reviewing
• Report writing
According to government statistics breast
cancer is the most common type of cancer in women in Northern Ireland. Roughly
1,200 women are diagnosed with breast cancer in NI each year (Nidirect, 2015).
Many lifestyle factors, such as diet and physical activity, have been linked to
increased risk of breast cancer (Mehra, Berkowits, Sanft, 2017). The Why
Weight? lifestyle change programme aimed to improve sustained healthy
lifestyles, reducing weight, and increasing physical activity to help reduce
the risk of breast cancer.
• The number of sugary treats consumed halved
• The amount of physical activity significantly increased by the end of
• Participants lost an average of 3.9 KGs by the end of the intervention.
Take Home Message
• I got to see psychological theory being used to benefit peoples
• Gave me the opportunity to be responsible for the completion of a
project and allowed me to practice my transferable skills.
• Got an insight into the world of work and different career options
available to me
• Assured me I am prepared for the world of work
Mehra, K., Berkowitz, A. and Sanft, T.
(2017). Diet, Physical Activity, and Body Weight in Cancer Survivorship. Medical
Clinics of North America, 101(6), pp.1151-1165.