Older Women To Get Breast Scans

Women up to the age of 70 will be invited for breast screening under new plans just announced by NI Health Minister Michael McGimpsey.

Up to now only women aged between 50 and 64 have been routinely invited to attend screening.

Currently approximately 150,000 women are invited for screening. It is anticipated the extension to the programme will enable a further 45,000 women to be invited for such screening across Northern Ireland.

Speaking at the launch of the initiative in the newly refurbished breast screening unit at Linenhall Street in Belfast, the Minister said: "Each year around 1,000 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in Northern Ireland and approximately 300 women will die.

"The Northern Ireland Breast Screening Programme detects annually approximately 300 women with this disease.

"The extension of the screening age up to 70 will save lives, and I would encourage everyone invited for an appointment to attend. It could be the difference between life and death.
News Image
"The earlier that breast cancer can be identified, the better chance of a successful treatment and increased survival. There is a 97% survival rate at five years for those women who have been detected to have breast cancer under the screening programme," he said.

The Sinn Féin MLA and Deputy Chair of the Stormont Health Committee Michelle O'Neill, has welcomed the announcement, but stressed that there should be blanket screening from the age of 50 onwards.

"This is very welcome news. The extension of breast screening to include women up to the age of 70, and not just to 64 years-of-age as was previously the case, will undoubtedly help save lives.

"However the question remains, why stop the screening programme at 70 years of age?

"As the risk of breast increases for women above the age of 50, with the NHS stating that 80% of cases occur in post-menopausal women, it is evident that the risk of developing breast cancer continues to rise as women get older.

"As breast cancer is the second most common type of cancer we need to see blanket screening from the age of 50 onwards," she said today.


Related Northern Ireland News Stories
Click here for the latest headlines.

20 March 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'.
25 May 2006
10,000 women still waiting for breast screening
Over 10,000 women in Northern Ireland are waiting for breast screening in the Northern Health Board area, it has been revealed. The Northern Health and Social Services Board (NHSSB) covers the Council boundaries of Antrim, Ballymena, Ballymoney, Carrickfergus, Coleraine, Cookstown, Larne, Magherafelt, Moyle and Newtownabbey.
24 October 2008
Jenni Supports UCF Campaign
One of radio and television's most respected broadcasters, Jenni Murray, flew into Belfast today to be the guest speaker at the Ulster Cancer Foundation's (UCF) annual Think Pink! luncheon, which celebrates life after breast cancer.
10 June 2013
NI Women Urged To Take Up Cervical Screening Invite
Women in Northern Ireland are too slow to take up invites for cervical screening, amounting to the highest incidence levels in the UK for cervical cancer. The UK’s only dedicated cervical cancer charity, Jo's Cervical Cancer Trust, is urging women in Northern Ireland to have regular cervical screening tests.
18 May 2006
NI's radiology service to be 'strengthened'
Health Minister Paul Goggins has said action is being taken to increase the numbers of radiologists in the health service in Northern Ireland. The move follows the publication of a review of the Northern Ireland Breast Screening programme conducted by the Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority (RQIA).