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Breast screening programme extension welcomed, but why stop at 70 years of age? – O’Neill

19 March, 2009 - by Michelle O'Neill


Sinn Fein MLA and deputy chair of the Health Committee, Michelle O’Neill, has welcomed today’s announcement that the breast-screening programme will be extended for women up to the age of 70 but stressed that there should be blanket screening from the age of 50 onwards.   Speaking today Ms O Neill said:   “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 especially given the fact that cancer is the number one cause of death within the north of Ireland.   “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 fifty onwards, with age limit.   “Ultimately most of us know of a friend or family member who has had an experience of breast cancer and we owe it to them to do all that we can to tackle this devastating disease”

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