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BreastCheck age extension welcomed

The Irish Cancer Society has welcomed the decision, outlined in Budget 2015, to make the necessary investment to ensure that BreastCheck is extended to women aged 65-69.

“Since 2011, the Irish Cancer Society has been campaigning for women between the ages of 65-69 to be screened for breast cancer,” said Kathleen O’Meara, head of advocacy and communications at the Irish Cancer Society.

One in ten of all breast cancers occur in the 65-69 age group. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) says that quality screening mammography carried out every two years in women who are 50-69 years of age should reduce their risk of dying from breast cancer by about 35%. This means that one life will be saved for every 500 women screened.

“Last month, the Irish Cancer Society highlighted the fact that extending BreastCheck to the 65-69 age group would save a minimum of 87 lives a year. We considered this to be a priority issue for Government, as it had been deferred in last year’s budget. We are therefore pleased that the decision has now been taken to extend the age range for BreastCheck. The Society is working towards a future without cancer and screening an additional 43,000 women for breast cancer every year will bring that future closer. The earlier cancer is detected, the more likely that the patient will go on to live a healthy and normal life,” said Ms O’Meara.

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