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Over 120,000 women receive a BreastCheck mammogram

BreastCheck – The National Breast Screening Programme today published its 2010-2011 programme report providing screening statistics for women who were invited for screening in 2010.

Free mammograms were provided to 120,730 women aged 50-64 and 814 breast cancers were detected. The overall acceptance of invitation to screening was 73.9 per cent, in excess of the programme target of 70 per cent.

Of the 120,730 women screened, 5,504 were re-called for assessment. Eight hundred and fourteen women were diagnosed with breast cancer, representing 6.7 cancers per 1,000 women screened.

A key achievement for the programme was the completion of first round screening in the south and west. For 46,405 women it was their first BreastCheck mammogram and 74,325 women had previously had at least one BreastCheck mammogram. Significantly more women nationwide are being invited for a second or subsequent screening appointment rather than a first, reflecting the completion of national expansion.

Brief overview of performance:
  • During 2010, BreastCheck invited 167,088 women for screening.
  • 120,730 women attended their screening appointment.
  • 814 breast cancers were detected.
  • For 46,405 women it was their first BreastCheck mammogram.
  • 74,325 women had previously had at least one BreastCheck mammogram.
  • 73.9% of eligible women invited for screening accepted their invitation, in excess of the programme target of 70%.

Commenting on the publication of the report, Majella Byrne, Acting Director of the National Cancer Screening Service said: “2010 proved a difficult year for screening. Significant obstacles in the delivery of screening were encountered, with staff shortages due to the recruitment moratorium having the biggest impact. However, BreastCheck has secured approval for a number of radiography posts and recruitment is now underway. Despite the challenges faced by the programme, BreastCheck experienced another successful year of screening. A key achievement for the programme was the completion of first round screening in the south and west and this is reflected in the high numbers of women who are having their second or subsequent mammogram with the programme.

“The programme is performing consistently well against the majority of commitments in the BreastCheck Women’s Charter. While BreastCheck does its very best to offer every woman her next mammogram every two years, currently the programme is challenged in meeting this commitment in every case. However, 91 per cent of women in 2010 were re-invited for their next mammogram within 28 months.”

“Among those who have previously not attended their screening appointment, the acceptance rate is low and continues to fall, due to persistent non-attendance by some women who neither attend nor opt-out of the programme. As a result they continue to be invited for screening. Among those women who have previously attended and are re-invited for subsequent screening, the acceptance rates continue to be high” concluded Ms Byrne.

Uptake remains highest in younger women invited for the first time and there are high acceptance rates in all age groups of women who were invited for a subsequent mammogram.

Where women were diagnosed with a breast cancer following a BreastCheck mammogram, Dr Ann O’Doherty, Lead Clinical Director, BreastCheck said: “In 2010 the number of women offered hospital admission for treatment within three weeks of diagnosis of breast cancer fell below the target of ≥90 per cent set out in the BreastCheck Women’s Charter, to 73.8 per cent. The target was however achieved within 35 days of diagnosis. Providing timely admission has proved challenging at times and BreastCheck is working closely with its host hospitals to develop a service response to address this issue.”

“More than 95 per cent of women who had a cancer detected were diagnosed prior to any surgery, usually by core biopsy at the assessment clinic. This high rate means that most women know their diagnosis prior to any surgical intervention and can plan their surgical treatment in advance. This has been a persistently positive feature of the programme since its inception” concluded Dr O’Doherty.

Since BreastCheck began screening in February 2000 to end of November 2011, the programme has provided 826,210 mammograms to 368,851 women and detected 5,071 breast cancers.

BreastCheck is governed by the National Cancer Screening Service (NCSS). The NCSS is part of the HSE National Cancer Control Programme.


For further information:
Sheila Caulfield/Clare Manning, Communications, National Cancer Screening Service,
Tel: 01-8659300


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