Action Cancer is marking October’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month (BCAM), with Gordons Chemists, by encouraging women in their 40s in Ballymoney to come forward for a breast screening. Recent figures indicate that breast cancer incidence rates for women aged 40 - 59 have increased by 50% in the last 30 years.
Throughout October, women within Action Cancer’s screening age range (40-49 and over 70), falling outside the NHS age range (50 – 70), are being urged to contact Action Cancer directly or to call in to their local Gordons Chemists store in Ballymoney and complete a breast screening request form.
David McFarlane, Gordons Chemists’ Church Street, Ballymoney store manager said: “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 customers through our partnership with Action Cancer. Since screening is entirely dependent on public funding, we are continuing our support in 2011 to contribute to the delivery of this service.”
Since the partnership between Action Cancer and Gordons Chemists began four years ago, 2,000 women have completed request forms in-store and, in addition to providing self-referral forms, Northern Ireland’s largest independent pharmacy chain is committed to supporting Action Cancer with in-store fundraising. Staff and customers have raised a vital £130,000 towards the screening programme, enabling more than 1,600 women to be screened, as every £80 raised instore provides one screening. To help fundraise customers can purchase raffle tickets, buy a pink ribbon instore or simply make a donation.
Patricia Kearns picked up a self-referral form in her local Gordons Chemists in 2008 and following a breast screening was diagnosed with cancer.
Patricia explains: “If I hadn’t stepped into Gordons Chemists that day I’m not sure where I would be right now. Within a week of my screening at Action Cancer House, I was recalled and sensed something was wrong.
“The doctors said in five to ten years, the cancer could have spread to any part of my body. I cannot bear to think what would have happened if I hadn’t used Action Cancer’s service, so I am urging all those women out there to please make an appointment.”
Action Cancer’s Consultant Radiographer Joanna Currie added: “While cancer rates have increased, so also have survival rates. This is thought to be largely due to available breast screening programmes that help to detect cancer at an earlier stage so that treatment is more likely to be successful. Women aged 40 - 59 are now considered the age group to be most at risk of breast cancer, and as young women’s breast cancer is usually more aggressive, early detection within this age range is even more crucial.
“There are approximately 2,300 women aged 40-492 in the Ballymoney Borough Council area who are eligible for the charity’s screening service so this Breast Cancer Awareness Month we encourage women in their 40s to come to Action Cancer for a mammogram. We also urge those in their 50s to attend their screening appointments when called by NHS. Early detection could save your life.”
The month long campaign will also include a radio advertisement and billboard poster placement to further reinforce local women to be breast aware and self-refer.
Anyone interested in obtaining an appointment should contact Action Cancer on 028 9080 3344, visit www.actioncancer.org or call in to your local Gordons Chemists and fill out a breast screening self-referral form. To organise a ‘Think Pink’ fundraising event contact Action Cancer on 028 9080 3349.