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On World Cancer Day BreastCheck thanks 368,851 women for participating

Together it is possible

Today, World Cancer Day, BreastCheck is celebrating that since it 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.

Majella Byrne, Acting Director of the National Cancer Screening Service said: “We thank each woman for participating and also for the vital role they play in encouraging friends and family to take part. In about 99 per cent of cases women who have a BreastCheck Mammogram get a normal result, and where breast cancer is found early it is likely to be easier to treat.”

“Participation in BreastCheck exceeds our target of 70 per cent, and is particularly high when women attend for a subsequent screening two years later.  We would like to build on this success by encouraging a greater number of women to take part.”  

“The theme of this year’s World Cancer Day is that ‘together it is possible’ and our hope is that all eligible women, especially those who have not availed of their invitation before, will take this opportunity to consider the benefits.  It’s quick, easy and it’s free, taking about a half an hour.”

“On an ongoing basis our Screening Promotion team work closely within the community to encourage participation and are so supported by the positive work women are doing around Ireland to promote breast awareness amongst their friends and families – each of the 120,730 women screened during 2010 is someone’s mother, sister, friend or cousin. It is often through talking to one another that the extremely busy women of Ireland take the decision to participate in our programme.”
By following this advice, women can play their part:

Make sure you are on the BreastCheck register

BreastCheck advises all women aged 50 to 64 to make sure their name is on the BreastCheck register by calling Freephone 1800 45 45 55 or checking online at

Once on the register and known to the programme, a woman will automatically be contacted when BreastCheck is screening in her area.

If a woman is not on the BreastCheck register, there are two simple ways to have her details added. She can either register herself online in the ‘self search and register online’ section of or there are self registration forms available from BreastCheck that can be completed and returned by Freepost. These forms are available on request by calling the BreastCheck information line on Freephone 1800 45 45 55.

If a woman receives an appointment for a time or date that doesn’t suit, it can be easily rearranged.

BreastCheck encourages every woman who receives an invitation for a mammogram to go for her appointment.

Women can phone BreastCheck for free if they have any questions on Freephone 1800 45 45 55 or find more information online at

BreastCheck compiles a register of women eligible for screening from information supplied by the Department of Social Protection, General Medical Services and private health insurance providers. The register contains a woman’s name, address and date of birth. This information is used to invite a woman for her mammogram when BreastCheck is screening in her area.

Be breast aware
A cancer can occur at any time and between mammograms. BreastCheck urges all women, whether they are part of the BreastCheck programme or not, to remain breast aware at all times. Every woman should look at and feel her breasts regularly for any changes such as a lump, dimpling or puckering of the skin, a rash or flaky skin around the nipple, a change in the size or shape of the breast, swelling in the armpit or around the collarbone or constant pain in one part of the breast or armpit.

There are many reasons for changes in the breast. Most of them are harmless, but it is important that any change is immediately checked by a GP.

What is BreastCheck?
BreastCheck – The National Breast Screening Programme is a Government funded programme that invites women aged 50-64 for a free mammogram on an area-by-area basis every two years. The invitation arrives by post.

What is a mammogram?
When having a mammogram, a special x-ray machine is used to take a picture of the breasts.

The aim of BreastCheck is to detect breast cancer as early as possible.  Breast screening can show breast cancers at an early stage, when they are too small to see or feel. At this stage, breast cancer is easier to treat and there is a higher chance of a good recovery.

A mammogram is a simple procedure and a BreastCheck appointment only takes about half an hour in total.

Note to Editors:
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/Aoife O’Sullivan, Communications, National Cancer Screening Service,
Tel: 01-8659300


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