Nov 17, 2023
Action Cancer, Northern Ireland’s leading, local cancer charity has unveiled its Breast Cancer Awareness Month campaign, taking place during October 2022.
Ambassadors for the charity and partners gathered together at Action Cancer House in Belfast for a special celebration event.
Having been forced to close its doors in March 2020 due to the pandemic, Action Cancer recommenced its breast cancer screening programme in mid-August 2020 for women aged 40-49 and over 70 (outside of NHS screening age range).
With the need for PPE, extended appointment times and enhanced cleaning of the clinics, Action Cancer Radiographers went the extra mile to reopen this service, providing a safe screening environment for the women of Northern Ireland.
Action Cancer has now recruited a cohort of new Ambassadors for the breast screening service- women who had their breast cancer detected after the reopening and had to undergo surgery and treatment during the pandemic. These women will be sharing their stories during the month of October to spread awareness of Action Cancer’s life-saving breast screening service.
Breast cancer is the most common cancer type among females in Northern Ireland, accounting for 30% of all cancer diagnoses among women. The latest statistics state that 1,468 women are diagnosed with breast cancer and 307 die from the disease every year.
Breast screening is for well women who have no signs or symptoms and is the most effective tool for picking up cancers at an early and treatable stage. Action Cancer encourages women aged 50-70 to attend for routine screening when called by the NHS.
Action Cancer’s state-of-the-art 3D screening technology Digital Breast Tomosynthesis is extremely effective as it can locate cancers which are the size of a grain of rice. The charity detects 6 cancers for every 1,000 screenings, with the majority of women receiving reassurance.
Joanna Currie, Consultant Radiographer at Action Cancer, said: “Like any organisation, Covid-19 brought a massive challenge to Action Cancer. However, I was determined, with the support of the highly professional team of radiographers here, that we would reopen the breast screening service as soon as we possibly could with Covid-safe measures in place.
“It is so heartening to now see how the team’s dedication has resulted in lives being saved. It is wonderful to meet these ladies who have come through their breast cancer journey, who are now cancer free and are here with us to celebrate today. We are also delighted to give ladies a tour of our Therapeutic Suite, showing them what support we have available in Belfast and regionally throughout Northern Ireland to help them in their recovery.
“We have opened up new breast screening appointments for October onwards, so ladies please book your mammogram today.”
Action Cancer is calling on members of the public to back its ‘Breast Friends’ fundraising campaign, empowered by local online car insurance company its4women. The campaign which was setup in 2019, calls upon friends, family and loved ones to raise vital funds for Action Cancer’s breast screening service through social events.
Kerry Beckett, Marketing Manager at its4women.co.uk, said: “In 2019 its4women pledged to match all money raised by the general public up to a total of £90,000 until 2022. The pandemic obviously greatly impacted the level of fundraising activity for two years. However, we stood by our pledge and donated the full £90,000. To date the campaign has raised over £153,000 and provided 1,500 breast screening appointments.
“We have recently renewed our pledge to match a further £90,000 until 2025. Knowing the generosity of the Northern Ireland public I am confident they will join us in raising these vital funds for Action Cancer and I look forward to seeing a great variety of fundraising events.”
Breast screening appointments are now available with Action Cancer. Women aged 40-49 and 70+ can book an appointment online at www.actioncancer.org or by calling 028 9080 3344. Keep an eye on Action Cancer’s website for upcoming Big Bus visits. Anyone affected by a cancer diagnosis can also visit the website for information on the free therapeutic supports available throughout Northern Ireland. Action Cancer’s therapeutic services are part funded by the Department of Health Cancer Fund/delivered by Community Foundation NI.