Deputy Noel Coonan has welcomed the news that his Fine Gael colleague and Health Minister James Reilly has confirmed his intention to extend the upper age range for Breast Check to include women aged from 65 to 69 years.
Deputy Coonan lobbied Minister Reilly on this important matter following concerns raised by the Irish Cancer Society and also several Tipperary constituents.
“Speaking in the Dáil, Minister Reilly outlined that BreastCheck, the National Breast Screening Programme, currently offers a mammogram every two years to women aged 50 to 64. This service is provided free of charge by the HSE through its National Screening Services. The Minister noted that BreastCheck is now in its fifteenth year of screening and has provided 964,000 mammograms to 409,000 women. Approximately 6,350 cancers have been detected through this programme.
“The Minister continued by confirming that it is his intention to extend the upper age range for Breast Check to include the 65 to 69 age cohort as soon as possible in line with available resources. Breast cancer survival in Ireland has improved significantly in recent years due to a combined approach of screening, symptomatic detection and improved treatment. We want to continue this vital trend.
“A priority of the BreastCheck Programme at present is to maximise national uptake in the 50-64 year age cohort. The current BreastCheck advertising campaign is welcome and will boost uptake rates. I will continue to lobby Minister Reilly as early detection is key,” concluded Deputy Coonan.