Women with breast cancer detected by the charity come together to launch breast cancer awareness campaign.
Action Cancer, Northern Ireland’s leading, local cancer charity has unveiled its Breast Cancer Awareness Month campaign taking place during October which is supported by Gordons Chemists and local online car insurance company its4women.
Ambassadors for the charity and partners gathered together at Action Cancer House in Belfast for a special celebration event.
2023 marks the 50th Anniversary of Action Cancer and the 45th Anniversary of its unique breast screening service.
Action Cancer has now recruited a cohort of new Ambassadors for the breast screening service – women who had their breast cancer detected by the charity. These women will be sharing their stories during the month of October to spread awareness of Action Cancer’s life-saving breast screening service.
Breast cancer is the most common cancer type among females in Northern Ireland accounting for 30% of all cancer diagnoses among women. The latest statistics state that 1,457 women are diagnosed with breast cancer and 314 die from the disease every year.
Breast screening is for well women who have no signs or symptoms and is the most effective tool for picking up cancers at an early and treatable stage. Action Cancer offers screening to women aged 40-49 and 70+ and encourages women aged 50-70 to attend routine screening when called by the NHS.
Screening takes place at Action Cancer House in Belfast and on board the charity’s Big Bus, supported by SuperValu and Centra. This free service is not available anywhere else in the UK or Ireland.
The charity detects 6 cancers for every 1,000 screenings, with the majority of women receiving reassurance.
Joanna Currie, Consultant Radiographer at Action Cancer, said: “We, at Action Cancer, have a long history of innovation and we look back proudly over our 45 years of breast screening in NI.
“Our lasting legacy is that we sit at the forefront of breast screening technology, being the only unit in the UK and Ireland to currently utilise Tomosynthesis/3D breast imaging in the screening environment – a technology which has been proven to find very small cancers that can often be missed hiding in the breast tissue.
“Our dedicated X-ray team remain committed to ensuring the very best for all clients at every step. Action Cancer provides a simple online/telephone booking service and a relaxing screening environment for clients to visit, with staff who are skilled and compassionate in equal measures, motivated by the idea that they truly are making a difference.
“It has been wonderful for me and the team to meet the ladies who have come through their breast cancer journey, who are now cancer-free and are here with us to celebrate today. We are also delighted to give ladies a tour of our Therapeutic Suite, showing them what support we have available in Belfast and regionally throughout Northern Ireland to help them in their recovery.
“We have now opened up new breast screening appointments for October onwards, so ladies please book your mammogram today.”
Fiona McQuillan, Pharmacist at Gordons Chemists, said: “It is so special to be here today to celebrate these amazing women whose lives have been saved by Action Cancer’s breast screening service.
“Gordons Chemists is proud to be partnered with Action Cancer and 2023 marks our 18th year as a corporate supporter.
“Throughout October our 55 stores across Northern Ireland will turn pink to raise money and spread awareness of the key message that where breast cancer is concerned, early detection saves lives. A huge thank you to our customers and staff who will be continuing to support this fantastic cause! Pop into your local store to buy a breast cancer bag for life.”
Action Cancer is calling on members of the public to back its ‘Breast Friends’ fundraising campaign, empowered by local online car insurance company its4women. The campaign which was set up in 2019, calls upon friends, family and loved ones to raise vital funds for Action Cancer’s breast screening service through social events. Since 2019 the campaign has raised over £213,000 which has funded 2,000 breast screening appointments.
Anna Kayes from its4women said: “I am delighted that Breast Friends has provided 2,000 local ladies to avail of a potentially life-saving breast screening appointment. Its4women has donated £120,000 of the amount raised since 2019 and we will continue to match all fundraising until 2025 with a commitment of donating a further £60,000 by that date. I urge the general public to join the campaign by getting together with friends and organising a fundraiser such as a dinner party, quiz night or coffee morning. Whatever you choose to do its4women will match whatever you raise meaning your support will go twice as far. With your support we can provide many more breast screening appointments and save more lives.”
Breast screening appointments are now available with Action Cancer. Women aged 40-49 and 70+ can book an appointment online at www.actioncancer.org or by calling 028 9080 3344. Keep an eye on Action Cancer’s website for upcoming Big Bus visits. Anyone affected by a cancer diagnosis can also visit the website for information on the free therapeutic support available throughout Northern Ireland.
If anyone is interested in organising a Breast Friends Fundraiser this October, please contact Leigh Osborne on 07928 668543 or [email protected]. For information on how to support via your local Gordons Chemist, please contact Lucy McCusker at [email protected].