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O'Rawe - comprehensive breast screening must be available to all women

29 March, 2003

When we think that Ireland has the third highest death rate from breast cancer in the European Union, we begin to realise just what a disgrace it is that women living in the west of the country do not have access to the 'national' screening programme. Comprehensive screening facilities are currently restricted to women aged 50-64 in the six counties and the eastern region of the 26.

Make no mistake about it, breast screening works - BreastCheck has detected well over 500 cancers since being set up in 2000. Expanding screening services so they cover the whole of the island is essential if the target to reduce the incidence of breast cancer by 20 per cent in 10 years for women of this age is to be achieved. However, we should not assume that the problem will be solved by simply expanding BreastCheck to health boards in the west.

For a start, there is the issue of uptake. BreastCheck boasts that in areas in which it operates, it has exceeded its tar

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