20/03/2003

Women urged to take part in breast screening

Women aged between 50 and 64 have been urged to participate in the breast-screening programme.

The Chief Medical Officer for Northern Ireland, Dr Henrietta Campbell, was speaking at today's launch of three new breast screening information leaflets: 'Your Early Warning System'; 'Looking For Changes'; and 'What to Expect at Your Second Visit'.

The breast-screening programme is also set to be extended by April 2006 and will include all women aged between 50 and 70.

Highlighting the importance of the breast-screening programme, Dr Campbell said: “Breast screening can help detect breast cancer at an early stage before there are any signs or symptoms. This is very important for successful recovery from the disease, as breast cancer is the most common cancer in women. One-in-twelve women here will develop breast cancer before the age of 75.”

Breast screening was first introduced to Northern Ireland in 1989. The programme invites women aged between 50 and 64 for screening every three years.

Over 800 women are diagnosed each year with breast cancer with approximately 240 of these picked up through the screening programme.

Around 300 people die each year from breast cancer and in 2001 86 deaths due to breast cancer were in the screening age range.

The three new leaflets are available on the DHSSPS website www.dhsspsni.gov.uk

(GMcG)

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