On International Women’s Day, Action Cancer Urges Women to Self Refer


Breast screening aims to find breast cancers early

To mark International Women’s Day on Monday 8 March 2021, Action Cancer, the only provider of free breast screening to women aged 40-49 and 70+ in Northern Ireland (outside of NHS screening age range), has announced that new appointments are now available.

Earlier this year, the charity reported that it was operating at full capacity and unable to take bookings. Availability of appointments had been significantly reduced due to measures to enable social distancing and to prevent COVID-19 spreading.

Action Cancer promised that it would make every effort to release new appointments as soon as possible and in the run up to International Women’s Day, the team is calling on women across Northern Ireland to make breast screening appointments a priority and to do so during the pandemic.

Breast cancer is the second most common type of cancer among women in Northern Ireland. Action Cancer’s Public Fundraising Manager, Leigh Osborne, explains why it is important to keep up with routine breast cancer screenings:

“Women are leading increasingly busy lives, even during lockdown. Many are continuing to work throughout the pandemic – either from home, at the office or in a key worker setting. Many are also home schooling, in addition to looking after elderly relatives. Women tend to put their own health and wellbeing to the bottom of their list of priorities.

“So, ahead of International Women’s Day, I am appealing to all women to take time out of their busy schedules to put their own health first. Booking the appointment will take five minutes. This can be done by phone or online and the appointment itself will take no longer than thirty minutes. We are living in a time where every second is accounted for. From Zoom meetings, to online school lessons and work phone calls, time is precious. It can be difficult to squeeze in time for anything else. Well, this time could potentially save your life.”

Action Cancer is Northern Ireland’s leading, local cancer charity that must raise £4m each year in order to deliver its range of cancer prevention, detection and support services. Screening aims to find breast cancers early, when they have the best chance of being cured. While most breast changes won’t be cancerous, it is critical to get them checked. The sooner breast cancer is diagnosed, the more likely treatment is to be successful. Throughout the pandemic the charity has adapted its services so that they can be delivered online or safely face-to-face with the use of PPE and stringent sanitising measures (in line with government guidelines).

The charity is reliant on fundraising from the general public and local business community in order to keep its life-saving and support services running. Action Cancer’s breast screening service is always free to the user. However, each appointment costs the charity £120.

The ‘Breast Friends’ campaign encourages friends to get together to raise funds for this vital service. Empowered by local online insurance company Its4women, the team has generously pledged to match money raised by the general public over three years up to a total value of £90,000. Its4women Marketing Executive Laura Scott added:

“Its4women and Action Cancer are into the second year of a three-year partnership for ‘Breast Friends’. We have raised £87,000 to date and with these funds 927 local women have received a potentially life-saving breast screening appointment.  The normal coffee mornings and pamper nights haven’t been possible for nearly a year now so to celebrate International Women’s Day, we are asking families and friends to get together online.

“Whether it’s your mum, sister, best friend, a former teacher, mentor or work colleague, please help us to spread the message that early detection saves lives and raise much needed funds for Action Cancer. Remember Its4women will match every pound that you raise meaning your efforts will go twice as far.”

You can book your Action Cancer breast screening appointment by calling 028 9080 3344 or online at www.actioncancer.org/appointments. To get your free Breast Friends fundraising pack call Leigh Osborne on 07928 668543 or email events@actioncancer.org


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