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Community and Voluntary, Health, News

Fall in numbers of women attending free screening

Breast check meFine Gael Councillor Mary Howard is encouraging all women aged between 50 and 64 living in Clare to attend their regular mammogram, when invited.

“All women in this age group should ensure they are on the BreastCheck register, so they can be informed about their free check-up appointments,” Councillor Howard stated. “It’s simple, just log onto http://www.breastcheck.ie, to register, or Freephone 1800 45 45 55.

“There has been a drop of six per cent in women attending appointments over the past four years, which is worrying as a minimum of 70% attendance must be maintained to deliver the most benefit to the women screened,” the Councillor pointed out.

“The vast majority of screenings are found to be perfectly healthy. Where problems are detected, early treatment greatly increases the likelihood of full recovery. Over 450,000 people have attended regular BreastCheck mammograms since the programme began. Under this Government, there has been a major expansion of screening including Bowelscreen, screening for diabetic retinopathy and newborn deafness and cystic fibrosis. The next step is to extend Breastcheck to women up to the age of 69 over the next few years starting in 2015.  Preventing illness and detecting it early makes sense.”

Most women aged 50-64 have had at least one free BreastCheck mammogram, and eight out of every ten come for their next mammogram when they get their appointment. However the overall numbers of women taking part in the programme are falling and BreastCheck is concerned women in their early 50s are becoming more likely to not take up their appointment.

“The risk of breast cancer increases with age and it is important women aged 50-64 avail of their regular free mammogram every two years so that changes can be identified at an early stage when treatment is easier and there are more treatment options available. A BreastCheck appointment only takes 30 minutes. It’s quick, it’s easy and it’s free. Join the many other women participating, and be part of the programme. The vast majority of women screened are found to be perfectly healthy,” Councillor Howard pointed out.

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