LAST year Action Cancer invested £500,000 in the latest breast screening equipment, becoming the first and only breast screening unit in the UK to use 3D breast imaging. A year on we are delighted this Breast Cancer Awareness Month to be able to report some quite incredible results.
Joanna Currie, Consultant Radiographer, reveals: “Using the latest digital 3 D mammography to screen women aged 40-49 has proven invaluable.
“With the ability to scan through the breast and see between overlapping structures and tissue, we have been able to reduce the number of women called back for further investigation by almost 50% and have increased the number of small invasive cancers detected in younger women.
“We are truly delighted with these results a year on and there is no doubt that early detection saves lives and makes a huge difference.”
To mark Breast Cancer Awareness Month, we are also delighted to launch our new fundraising Campaign, Breast Friends, in partnership with Northern Ireland based online car insurance provider its4women.co.uk.who are empowering women across the country to raise funds for our unique breast screening service.
All mammograms (breast screening) provided by Action Cancer are free to the women being screened but each costs the charity approximately £80. The charity was therefore delighted when its4women.co.uk agreed that for every £1 raised by the general public through “Breast Friends” events it would donate £1 to a total value of £90,000 over the next three years.
These total funds of £180,000 will allow Action Cancer to provide free of charge 2,250 breast screening appointments for local women, saving approximately 15 lives and providing peace of mind to over two thousand women.
Kerry Beckett, Marketing Manager, its4women.co.uk, says:
“Our ethos is one of empowerment, to help everyone realise their potential. We believe that involves encouraging your loved ones to feel inspired to sign up for health checks, so the Breast Friends campaign is one we are deeply committed to over the next three years. We are supporting friends and families across Northern Ireland to seek an early detection of breast cancer that will ultimately save lives. By pledging to match the money raised by the people of Northern Ireland, this money will enable Action Cancer to double the number of free breast screening appointments to local women.”
One such life saved by early detection at Action Cancer was Donna McGavigan (50) a nurse from Strabane.
“I have been going religiously to Action Cancer for mammograms since I was 40 and never had a problem. Last June I had an appointment with my best friend, Frances Jack and something was detected on my scan. I was referred to Altnagelvin Hospital for further investigations.
“I was told I had the early stages of breast cancer and there were small tumours in both my breasts. Being a nurse sometimes isn’t good as you have too much knowledge but I decided to have a double mastectomy.
“After my surgery I never looked back and two weeks later I was up and about doing exercises. Now life is good and I am busy and active. I am so thankful to Action Cancer for their screening services which at the end of the day saved my life.
“I would encourage all women over 40 to go for screening. It is quick and painless and could save your life too.”
Fiona McQuillan, Pharmacist for Gordons Chemists adds: “We have been supporting the Action Cancer Breast Screening service for over 13 years and are delighted to continue to do so. We believe very strongly in the service Action Cancer provides and that lives are being saved in the communities we serve. We are proud to continue our commitment to help spread this important and potentially life-saving health message during October, Breast Cancer Awareness Month, whilst also raising much needed funds for the charity.”
Women aged 40-49 and 70 plus can book their free breast screening appointment either online at www.actioncancer.org or by calling 028 9080 3344.
Action Cancer also offers free support services to people impacted by any type of cancer, helping the individual diagnosed, their family members and friends or carers. These services include: one to one counselling; complementary therapy (which incorporates pain and symptom control therapies, both from age 5+); life coaching; acupuncture; group support programme (Positive Living Programme) and peer mentoring.
As part of the Breast Friends campaign everyone is being encouraged to host an event such as a movie night, coffee morning, sponsored walk or something creative and innovative to make a great event.
For tips and ideas contact [email protected] or call 028 9080 3347.