Nearly 3500 Orkney women between the ages of 50-70 years will be receiving their invitations, over the next few months, to attend for breast screening when the Mobile Unit returns to Orkney on 7th June 2021.
The Unit will be based at Balfour Hospital main car park and will be there for approximately 4 months.
The Breast Screening Service visits Orkney every three years and Orkney remains one of the highest screening uptakes in the country. On the last visit in 2018, 81% of eligible women attended for screening.
Mrs Sarah Philip, Breast Services Manager for the North East of Scotland Breast Screening Service, is encouraging all those invited to attend.
“Women between the ages of 50 and 70 years who are registered with a GP Practice will receive an invitation for screening.
“Unfortunately due to the backlog created by the COVID-19 pandemic, we cannot accept self referrals from those out with the eligible age group. We encourage anyone with symptoms or changes to their breast to see their GP.
“Orkney has an impressive record with breast screening uptake and I would urge all eligible Orkney women to continue to take advantage of this important screening programme as they have done in the past.
“Women attending for screening will have two views taken of each breast. A small percentage of women who require further assessment will subsequently be recalled to the Centre in Aberdeen for review.
“It is really important that women continue to come for screening each time we visit Orkney so that we can ensure there have been no changes in the three years since we were last here. If any woman missed or failed to attend three years ago it is still important to come along for screening this time.”
Invitation letters will be sent out approximately 3-4 weeks prior to the screening appointment date.
Dr Louise Wilson, Consultant in Public Health Medicine, NHS Orkney encouraged all women to attend their appointment.
“The risk of developing breast cancer increases as you get older and the best way of screening for breast cancer is by having regular mammograms as you may not be able to see or feel any early changes in the breast tissue. Detecting cancer early provides the best chance of successful treatment.
“We can be confident that we can improve survival outcomes for people with cancer by detecting it earlier. If you have cancer then the earlier it is treated the better and screening is a way of detecting cancer at an early stage.”
“The older you are the more likely you are to get breast cancer. One in three diagnoses of breast cancer occur in women over 70 (www.gov.uk)
Since older women are more likely to get breast cancer surely they should be prioritised rather than being written off.
The English NHS is still allowing women over 70 to self-refer for breast cancer screening if they so wish. Scotland now denies this essential test to thousands of older women.
If you live in the Borders or are well-off, then presumably you could go for Breast Screening in England. Although you might need a temporary English address.
In Orkney, if you miss out this year because of health service restrictions, you would have a wait of 6 or 7 years between screenings. All research recommends a gap of no longer than three years.” Julie S.