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Minister must act to roll out breast screening services throughout the State

1 September, 2004

Sinn Féin Health Spokesperson Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD has today called for the Minister for Health and Children to roll out breast screening services throughout the 26 Counties and for an all-Ireland approach to breast screening, after it emerged that the incidence rate for the disease in Ireland is 10 per cent higher than the EU average. The mortality rate in the 26 Counties has remained constant over the last decade. This is in marked contrast to a one fifth fall in deaths over a similar period in the Six Counties.

Deputy Ó Caoláin said that the "development and availability of services and standardisation of practices on an all Ireland basis would be of a massive benefit in the fight against breast cancer".

The report was a collaboration between the Northern Ireland Cancer Registry (NICR) and the National Cancer Registry (NCR) and found that there are approximately 2715 new cases of breast cancer every year on the island.

Deputy Ó Caoláin said:

"This all-Ireland report paints a stark picture of the shortfalls in cancer care for women. The availability of breast screening in the 26 Counties is totally inadequate despite repeated Government promises to extend it. This report must now prompt the Minister for Health and Children Micheál Martin to accelerate the extension of the programme and to provide accessible facilities throughout the State.

"The report shows the clear advantages of an all-Ireland approach to our health services and its findings should be met with an all-Ireland response which will achieve real health benefits for women." ENDS

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