independent

Friday 19 September 2014

Support breast cancer screening campaign

Published 19/07/2014 | 12:00

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THE IRISH Cancer Society is calling on people in Co Louth to support its campaign to extend the free national breast cancer screening programme BreastCheck, to women aged 65 to 69 in 2015.

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Women aged 60 to 69 have the second highest incidence of breast cancer and the second highest chance of dying from it. Yet only half of this age group is currently being screened.

BreastCheck invites women aged 50 to 64 for free screening every two years. Women who are 65 to 69 are not being screened. We want to ensure these women are not forgotten about.

Kathleen O'Meara, Head of Advocacy and Communications at the Irish Cancer Society said, "The 2011 Programme for Government promised an extension of BreastCheck to the 65 to 69 age range. Future Health, the Government's reform plan for the health service, promised the roll-out would begin in 2014. This has not happened. The Irish Cancer Society is asking the Minister for Health to deliver the extension in the HSE's National Services Plan 2015 this autumn. We are asking people to support this campaign and keep the pressure on the government to deliver on this broken promise: get online www.cancer.ie, email your local TD and sign our petition."

Louth TDs include: Gerry Adams TD (SF), Gerald Nash TD (LAB), Minister Fergus O'Dowd (FG), Peter Fitzpatrick TD (FG) and Seamus Kirk TD (FF).

'The availability of high-quality population based screening is one of the strongest weapons we can use to reduce the high death rate from cancer in Ireland. In 2008, Ireland had the fourth highest mortality rate for breast cancer in Europe. We know from the scientific research that early detection of cancers offer the best chance for successful treatment and cure. A BreastCheck mammogram is a simple procedure and the appointment only takes half an hour but could save a life."

A review conducted for the Department of Health estimated the cost of the BreastCheck extension to the 65 to 69 age group at maximum €2.9 million and at minimum €1.6 million. The Society has launched an email your TD and online petition which will be presented to government in September. The petition is available at http://www.cancer.ie/advocacy/current-campaigns/action-on-breastcheck-screening

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