Nearly 200 women a month have been screened by BreastCheck in Westmeath over the past 12 months, it has been revealed this week.
This figure covers just over one third of the women in Westmeath who fall into this demographic, as there are 6,688 women in the county aged between 50 and 64, according to the 2011 census.
This came to light following a question from Cllr Mick Dollard at the most recent meeting of the Dublin-Mid Leinster regional health forum on Tuesday.
According to Aoife O’Sullivan from the National Cancer Screening Executive, “almost 2,300 women were screened by BreastCheck in Westmeath in 2012, and this figure is correct up to April 25, 2013”.
BreastCheck is the national breast screening programme where women between 50 and 64 - the age deemed at most risk of breast cancer - are offered a free mammogram every two years.
“BreastCheck is central to breast cancer control in Ireland and aims to reduce the mortality by detecting breast cancer at its earliest stage when a woman has a greater range of treatment options available, and her chosen treatment option is likely to be less extensive and more successful,” said Ms O’Sullivan.
Since its inauguration in 2000, BreastCheck has provided over 835,500 mammograms to more than 370,000 women in Ireland and has detected more than 5,400 cancers. This translates as less than one cancer detection in every 150 mammograms.
“We encourage all women in Westmeath in the 50-64 age bracket to avail of the programme, and to check they are on the BreastCheck register by calling Freefone1800 454555 or checking online at www.breastcheck.ie,” said Ms O’Sullivan.
Once a woman is registered and is known to the programme, she will automatically receive an appointment when BreastCheck is next screening in her area.
Also revealed at this week’s meeting was the fact that over 100,000 people availed of radiography services at Mullingar Regional Hospital in 2012, a figure which has risen by an average of 7 per cent over the first three months of 2013. The vast majority of these patients (85 per cent ) are attending for X-rays and ultrasound.