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Written Answers. - Cancer Screening Programme.

Wednesday, 18 December 2002

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 559 No. 6

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 188. Ms M. Wallace Information on Mary Wallace Zoom on Mary Wallace  asked the Minister for Health and Children Information on Micheál Martin Zoom on Micheál Martin  the reason women aged over 64 are not included in the breast cancer screening programme; and if he will make a statement on the possible extension of this screening to include women over 64 years of age. [27012/02]

Minister for Health and Children (Mr. Martin): Information on Micheál Martin Zoom on Micheál Martin The national breast screening programme commenced in March 2000 with phase one of the programme covering the Eastern Regional Health Authority, Midland Health Board and North Eastern Health Board areas. Screening is being offered free of charge to all women in those areas in the target age group 50 to 64 years of age. The target population consists of approximately 136,000 women and it represents about 50% of the national target population. To end October 2002, 101,072 women had been called for screening and 75,668 women had been screened, representing an uptake of 75%.

The board of BreastCheck has submitted proposals for the next phase of screening, to include women in the 50-64 age group in the south, west, mid-west and north west. Following such extension and when the programme is sufficiently developed and it is assured that a quality services can be delivered at national level, consideration will be given to including older women and continuing the screening of women already in the programme who have reached 65 years of age.

As the Deputy is aware, any woman irrespective of her age or residence, who has immediate concerns or symptoms should contact her GP who, where appropriate, will refer her to the symptomatic services in her area.

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