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BreastCheck defends move from Bantry

April 27th, 2024 7:35 PM

By Jackie Keogh

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BREASTCHECK has issued a statement saying that their mobile service in Bantry has moved on after all of the eligible women in the area were given an opportunity to avail of the free service.

In response to a front-page report in last week’s edition of The Southern Star, in which Social Democrat leader Holly Cairns and Cllr Caroline Cronin (FG) expressed concerns about the service moving on, a spokesperson for the service said: ‘Breast screening is offered to eligible women in one area in approximately two-yearly cycles.

‘When eligible women have been invited from one area and given the opportunity to attend, our mobile units move on to the next area where women are due their screening invitation,’ she said.

BreastCheck screened eligible women in Bantry from June 14th 2023 to September 2023.

Prior to screening in 2023 BreastCheck screened women in Bantry between July 17th 2021 to November 25th 2022. Meanwhile, the BreastCheck unit is not expected to be back in Bantry until the spring or early summer of 2025.

Women who were unable to take up the original invitation of screening in Bantry at that time are being offered screening at the nearest or most convenient alternative location.

But Social Democrat party leader Holly Cairns pointed out that those centres are in Cork, Limerick or Killarney.

‘This distance can mean some women who can’t drive will fall through the cracks, as public transport is so limited in many areas,’ she said. ‘Preventative healthcare is so important and in order to encourage take-up it must be as accessible as possible in order to catch breast cancer at an early stage.’

‘The provision of a permanent centre, or funding for more frequent mobile units, would only be a positive for the health of women in West Cork,’ she added.

The spokesperson for BreastCheck emphasised that what they offer is a screening service for well women within the population age range (50-69 years) and is not for women with symptoms of breast cancer.

If a person has any concerns or symptoms concerning their breasts, they should not attend screening and should instead contact their GP who will give them the appropriate advice.

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