Irish breast cancer diagnoses soar

Aine O'Boyle

The National Breast Screening Programme is urging women to get their breasts checked as the number of people being diagnosed with breast cancer in Ireland soars.

According to the latest Breast Check report, a record high number of 165,581 attended a screening in 2017-2018.

The report which was released in November 2019 also found that 1,067 women were diagnosed with breast cancer within this period, making it the highest number of cancers detected in a year.

The primary aim of the Breast Check services is to detect cancers at the earliest possible stage, ensuring that the cancer is easier to treat and has a number of options available.

Breast Check currently offers free mammograms to women aged 50 to 66 every two years, although many women are calling for the age to be reduced even further to include younger women in the services.

According to the annual report, this age bracket will be further increased by 2021 to allow for women aged 50-69 to receive a free mammogram.

Dublin based social media influencer, Carly Mahady,  called on the government to reduce the age that free breast check screenings are administered at after being diagnosed with a rare form of breast cancer at 24-years-old.

Mahady was diagnosed with a rare cancer named secretory breast carcinoma, a slow-growing breast cancer that is more prevalent among young women.

The cancer came as a huge shock to Mahady originally, telling The Sun: “In the past year, I found that the right side of my chest was getting quite lumpy and sore.”

“If anyone gave me a hug or a big squeeze I would get shooting pains in my right breast, but I ignored the problem for quite a while.”

Mahady was brought into the Mater Hospital’s breast clinic last August and found out that she had developed secretory carcinoma.

Since then Mahady has been advocating for a reduction in the screening age.

“I really want to make young men and women aware that they’re not in the clear just because of their age. That was the reason why I ignored the signs for so long,” said Mahady.

The primary goal of BreastCheck is to reduce the number of mortalities from breast cancer, but according to the report this can only be achieved if a quota of 70 per cent of eligible women attend the screening services.

Author: Aine O’Boyle

Image Credit: Flickr