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Concern as Breastcheck age extension won't be rolled out in 2014

The age-range extension will not be taking place, the HSE’s Director General confirmed.

Image: Mammogram via Shutterstock

A NEW UPPER age limit won’t be rolled out as planned for the BreastCheck cancer screening programme, it has been announced.

The HSE’s Director General, Tony O’Brien made the announcement while speaking at the launch of the HSE’s 2014 Service Plan yesterday.

He said that the age-range extension was planned but will not be taking place in the coming year. O’Brien said that the HSE had sought within its service plan to “do those things which are critical”, so could not undertake everything planned for.

He said that “there will be things that [people] expected to see that they won’t see” and things the HSE would like to do that it can’t do.

The Irish Cancer Society expressed concern that resources have not been made available in the HSE Services Plan to extend the BreastCheck screening programme.

It noted that this is despite a commitment in the Programme for Government to extend the upper age range to women aged 65 to 69 years of age.

BreastCheck currently invites women aged 50 to 64 years for free screening every two years.

Kathleen O’Meara, Head of Advocacy & Communications with the Irish Cancer Society, said that breast cancer is the most common cause of cancer in women in Ireland, with 2724 cases in 2010.

The extension of the BreastCheck programme has been promised for many years and we are disappointed that it now looks like this will not happen in 2014. The Irish Cancer Society will be campaigning to have this decision reversed so that as many women as possible can avail of a world class screening programme.

Read: Stronger breast cancer surveillance will reduce health service costs – report>

Read: BreastCheck screened 4,500 more women in 2011 despite ‘challenging year’>

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