28 May 2022

Donegal women urged to attend BreastCheck appointments

Uptake of initial appointments worryingly low

Donegal women urged to attend BreastCheck appointments

Donegal women urged to attend BreastCheck appointments

Women in Donegal are being urged to attend their BreastCheck appointments.

Speaking to Inish Live, the chairperson of the advocacy group, Donegal Action for Cancer Care, said the BreastCheck Unit in Letterkenny would be open five days a week for the next two months.

Betty Holmes added: "It will potentially do some Saturdays also, if they are able to assign staff who may carry this out.

"Donegal Action for Cancer Care would like to remind women that it is crucial, if you receive your invite from BreastCheck for your mammogram, you do your best to attend. If you are unable please contact Breast Check so that your appointment can be rescheduled. This is very important.

"BreastCheck have relocated a radiographer from the Southern unit to Donegal for two months to try to support the service and others will go up on rotation.

"Donegal Action for Cancer Care has serious concerns that BreastCheck has told us, uptakes of initial appointments is very low at 42%. This means BreastCheck has to reappoint those women and this means the service is not maximising appointments. Donegal Action for Cancer Care shares BreastCheck's concern about this situation," said Betty Holmes.

In 2021, BreastCheck opened  two mobiles in Donegal due to unexpected available capacity from another BreastCheck unit.

However, according to Betty Holmes, it is not in a position to do this again in the near future.

"Like many areas in the health service BreastCheck have experienced staffing issues due to covid and it is very challenging to overcome these," she said.

BreastCheck is the national breast screening programme. The aim of the programme is to find breast cancer early and to provide treatment of breast cancer in women who show no symptoms of the disease. 

The programme offers all women between the ages of 50 and 69 a mammogram (an x-ray of the breast) free of charge every two years.

Betty Holmes added: "Remember the life you save could be your own by attending your BreastCheck appointment.

"Donegal Action for Cancer Care would also like to acknowledge the positive relationship we have with BreastCheck in having queries answered and receiving regular updates."



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