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Free breast-cancer screenings will now be available for women up to the age of 69

The BreastCheck programme currently offers free screenings to those aged 50 to 65.

Image: maf04/Flickr

THE FREE BREASTCHECK examination will become available for 65 to 69 year olds as part of the budget for 2015.

At current the BreastCheck programme offers free mammogram examinations to women aged between 50 and 64.

The service offers screenings in a number of mobile clinics and set locations around the country.

Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald described the widening of criteria as a “timely breakthrough which I have spent many years fighting for”.

The change in health policy was also welcomed by Fine Gael TD for Dun Laoghaire Mary Mitchell O’Connor. Speaking about the change O’Connor said:

I passionately believe this decision, announced by the Minister for Health Leo Varadkar TD as part of Budget 2015, will contribute to improving the health of older women in Ireland and preventing breast cancer.

Earlier this week, I urged the Government to extend the BreastCheck programme to include women up to age 69. Breast cancer survival in Ireland has improved significantly in recent years due to the combined approach of screening, symptomatic detection and improved treatment.

Breast cancer is one of the five highest occuring cancers in Ireland and is most commonly found in women over the age of 50. The five-year survival rate for sufferers in Ireland sits at over 80%. 

Read: #NoBraDay is trending on Twitter, but here’s what you need to know

Also: Irish charity to look at how aspirin could help breast cancer patients

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