10,500 women are eligible for breast screening in Donegal and this will take about one year, under BreastCheck, the Irish National Cancer Screening Services (NCSS) have indicated. Co-operating for Cancer Care NorthWest, CCC(NW), have met with Tony O’Brien, CEO of the NCSS to discuss issues pertaining to BreastCheck in Donegal. Said Noelle Duddy, Spokesperson for CCC(NW), “Whilst CCC(NW) welcomes the commencement of the roll-out of BreastCheck in Donegal Town on 5 October 2009, we sought clarification from BreastCheck on how exactly BreastCheck will be delivered to eligible Donegal women.” “Tony O’Brien informed us that the mobile breast screening unit would remain in the County until all eligible women had been offered an appointment. Approximately 10,500 women are eligible for screening and it is envisaged that this round of screening will take approximately one year. The mobile screening unit will be sited in different parts of the county throughout the period of screening.” “In the past weeks, women living in Donegal Town and areas surrounding Donegal Town began receiving letters from BreastCheck with information about breast screening and women are now receiving appointments by post, giving them a minimum of seven days notice of their screening appointment.” “Following her ‘BreastCheck’ mammogram a woman will receive her results within 21 days. If her mammogram is normal no further action is needed and she will be recalled for a mammogram in 2 years time. (NB should she develop breast symptoms during this period, she should contact her GP)” However, should she require further follow-up on her ‘BreastCheck’ mammogram she will be given an appointment to attend the BreastCheck unit in Galway. During this appointment, the BreastCheck team will do further tests to check the woman’s breast health. These tests may include: physical examination, ultra-sound scan, MRI and/or breast biopsy.
Again the woman will receive the results of these tests promptly. Should the tests prove positive for breast cancer the women’s treatment options will be discussed in full with her in Galway.”
“It is important to note that BreastCheck screens healthy women, that is, women who are breast symptom free. Any woman, of any age who has breast symptoms should attend her GP who will advise her and/or refer her to Symptomatic Breast Services in Letterkenny General Hospital (LGH). It is important that women understand that whilst both services may diagnosis breast cancer how they access the service is different. One service-BreastCheck screens a healthy ‘symptom free’ population of women between the ages of 50-64 years every 2 years and the other service-Symptomatic Breast Services assesses/treats women referred by their GP to LGH. This group of women have presented themselves to their GP with symptoms/concerns about their breast health. CCC(NW) advises all women aged 50 to 64 to check that they are on the BreastCheck register. Once on the register and known to the Programme, women will automatically receive a BreastCheck appointment. Women can check that they are on the register by calling Freephone 1800 45 45 55 or phoning 091-580600 or checking online at www.breastcheck.ie. CCC(NW) encourages all women invited for a mammogram by BreastCheck, to attend their appointment. “The aim of BreastCheck is to reduce deaths from breast cancer by finding and treating the disease at an early stage” Said Tony O’Brien, CEO, BreastCheck, “BreastCheck invites women for screening on an area by area basis and the screening service will remain in Co Donegal until all eligible women have been offered an appointment. In excess of 1,800 women in Donegal town and surrounding areas will be the first to be invited for screening over the coming three months and I strongly encourage every woman invited to take this valuable opportunity to look after their health.” The Government-funded programme is offered on a two-yearly cycle. Women screened in October 2009 will expect to be screened again in two years time. A BreastCheck mammogram is a simple procedure and an appointment only takes about half an hour in total. The aim of screening is to detect early breast cancer. The vast majority of women screened are found to be perfectly healthy with less than one per cent diagnosed with cancer. A specialist BreastCheck multi-disciplinary team provides the screening service to women. Quality assurance standards in operation throughout BreastCheck include the double-reading of all mammograms by two separate, specially trained radiologists, the use of triple assessment for women that need further investigation at the BreastCheck Western Unit, Galway and the continuing audit and maintenance of all equipment used. BreastCheck is the first national screening service provider worldwide to offer a fully digital mammography service. The decision to transfer to full digital mammography was taken following a successful pilot programme that demonstrated significant improvements in diagnostic accuracy. All screening units are fully accessible to people with disabilities. BreastCheck ask that a woman advises in advance if special needs are to be accommodated.