4,000 local women are eligible for Action Cancer’s Breast Screening Service

Northern Ireland’s leading local cancer charity Action Cancer is marking its annual Breast Cancer Awareness Month (BCAM) campaign this October.

Celebrating its fifth year in partnership with Northern Ireland’s largest independent pharmacy chain Gordons Chemists, Action Cancer is encouraging eligible women in Ballymoney to come forward for screening.

Action Cancer is the only charity in the UK and Ireland that offers women aged 40 – 49 and 70+ the opportunity to have a free mammogram, complementing the NHS screening programme which calls women aged 50 - 70. In the Ballymoney area there are 2,250 women aged 40 – 49 and 1,750 women over 70 that are eligible for Action Cancer’s unique screening service1. Approximately 1,150 women are diagnosed with and 300 die from breast cancer in Northern Ireland every year2.

Joanna Currie, Action Cancer Consultant Radiographer said: “Through our annual BCAM campaign and valued partnership with Gordons Chemists, our message of being breast aware and to self refer for screening is reaching a wider audience every year. This means that more women are being proactive about their health, coming forward for screenings and potentially detecting cancer in its early stages when treatment can be more successful.

“Last year Action Cancer screened nearly 8,000 local women – a record number for the charity. And as our service detects six breast cancers in every 1,000 women screened, last year nearly 50 women were alerted to their cancer when it may otherwise have gone unnoticed. It has saved the lives of hundreds of women and it could save yours.”

2012 celebrates the fifth year of BCAM partnership between Action Cancer and Gordons Chemists. This year the Action Cancer Big Bus, sponsored by independent retail group SuperValu, will visit a select number of Gordons stores across Northern Ireland throughout October.

Ivan Morrison, Manager of Main Street Ballymoney Gordons Chemists explains how the partnership benefits both parties: “The health of our community is at the heart of what we do and we’re delighted to be able to make a direct impact on the lives of our patients and customers through our partnership with Action Cancer.

“Every year Gordons Chemists provide breast screening request forms in store to encourage our customers to complete the form and attend a free, follow-up screening with Action Cancer. This year as the Big Bus is visiting four of our stores across Northern Ireland we’re able to offer some of our customers the additional service of the breast screening service and MOT health checks on site.

“Over the past four years Gordons Chemist staff and customers have raised £150,000 towards Action Cancer’s vital screening services and over 2,300 women have completed the self referral forms in store. Through the money raised for the service and the number of forms filled in, approximately 25 women over the last four years will have had their cancer detected early thanks to Gordons Chemists. And because the screening is entirely dependent on public funding, we will continue our support for the fifth year to contribute to the delivery of this service.”

The Action Cancer Big Bus will visit a number of Gordons Chemists stores over BCAM including the Antrim store in Market Square on 1st October, the Kilkeel store, Newcastle Street on 8th October, Portadown store in High Street Mall on 15th October and the Coleraine store, The Diamond on 22nd October (10am – 3pm). At each visit the Big Bus will offer 24 breast screenings for women aged 40 – 49 and over 70, and 20 MOT health checks for men and women. The MOT health checks include a full body composition analysis using the latest technology to help offer weight loss guidance and encourage people to adopt a healthier lifestyle. Big Bus staff can also provide information on complementary therapies and other cancer support services such as counselling.

Anyone interested in obtaining a breast screening appointment should contact Action Cancer on 028 9080 3344, visit www.actioncancer.org, download Action Cancer’s BreastAware app or call in to your local Gordons Chemist and fill out a breast screening request form.