While eight out of ten women from more advantaged backgrounds accept their invitations to attend breast screening, the figure falls to four out of ten for women living in certain deprived areas in Northern Ireland.
To address this, the Women’s Resource and Development Agency (WRDA) is delivering a comprehensive confront to confront, and online, breast screening awareness programme encouraging women to be more cancer aware and to attend vital screening appointments.
The WRDA’s awareness programme, funded by the Public Health Agency, was developed to help tackle inequalities in the uptake of breast cancer screening.
One in 10 women in Northern Ireland will get breast cancer during their lifetime. There are around 1,450 situations diagnosed every year with more than 300 women dying of the disease.
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and Deirdre Quinn, the WRDA’s Training Development Co-ordinator appealed to women in Coleraine to access its free sets, which are obtainable online and by community workshops.
Ms Quinn said: “Women in more disadvantaged communities often feel they don’t have time to look after themselves. They are too busy struggling to make ends meet or looking after their families. Our message to them is – prioritise yourself. Don’t ignore your screening invitation. Also remember to do a regular breast check.”
The WRDA has restarted confront to confront breast cancer awareness sessions, due to huge need from community groups, amid fears there are a lot of undiagnosed situations. A total of one million women across the UK have missed vital breast screening because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Ms Quinn additional: “Our community workshops are free and tailored to reach all communities. We now have signing for the deaf community and translators obtainable for those who don’t speak English. There is also a webinar obtainable for individuals.”
A short online video produced by the WRDA could also help save the lives of women across Northern Ireland. The WRDA video, entitled ‘In the Zone’ gives a simple, step-by-step guide to women on how to examine their breasts and look for any changes.
It advises carrying out monthly checks and to make sure to check the complete area including under the arm, collarbone, nipple, and the breast itself and to closest contact their GP if there are any irregularities.
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