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Get yourself Screened for breast cancer.

Get yourself Screened for breast cancer.

11:36am 18th October 2010

Cancer survivor's plea to women over 50

Over 15,000 women in North Yorkshire and York are putting themselves at greater risk from breast cancer by not taking up offers of screening.

Figures from the NHS Breast Cancer Screening Programme show that in 2009, 15,535 women between the age of 53 and 70 in North Yorkshire and York did not come forward for their routine breast screening appointment.

Breast cancer is now the most common cancer in the UK.

In 2007 in the UK almost 45,700 women were diagnosed with breast cancer - around 125 women a day. Female breast cancer incidence rates have increased by around 50% over the last twenty-five years.

Now a breast cancer survivor from North Yorkshire is appealing to women during Breast Cancer Awareness Month (October 2010) to make sure they get screened.

Honor Byford, a 53-year-old former military policewoman, is a living testimony to the benefits of breast screening. In March 2010 she was diagnosed with breast cancer - devastating news to any woman and her family, but more so for Honor as her husband had already lost his first wife to the disease.

In May 2010 Honor underwent a mastectomy of her right breast at the Friarage Hospital in Northallerton. She is now recovering well and has since returned to her job as Manager of the Road Safety Team at North Yorkshire County Council.

She said: "If you get that letter inviting you for screening, just go. It will provide a real peace of mind because for most women there will be no problem, but for those who need treatment, the earlier the diagnosis the more chance of a better recovery.

"Some of the women I was in hospital with were diagnosed later than me for various reasons, and their outcome wasn't as good. Some of them are still going through treatment."

Dr David Geddes, a York-based GP and Medical Director at NHS North Yorkshire and York, said: "We would encourage all women to be aware of any changes that occur in the breast and have them checked out by a GP. Most changes that occur in the breast are usually part of normal development but if you are not sure it is always best to see your doctor to have this checked out.

"Early diagnosis can be the key to beating cancer. The earlier doctors can diagnose the disease - the better the chance of a full recovery.

"The NHS Breast Screening Programme provides free breast screening every three years for all women aged 50 and over. Around one-and-a-half million women are screened in the UK each year. I would recommend that anyone who receives the offer of screening takes it."

October 2010 is Breast Cancer Awareness Month - organised by the charity Breast Cancer Care. For more information visit www.breastcancercare.org.uk

October 2010 is Breast Cancer Awareness Month
This October alone, nearly 4,000 people will hear the shocking news that they have breast cancer. Breast Cancer Care wants to be there to support each and every one of them, so they are encouraging people to raise money with a Pink Friday this October.

Breast Cancer Care is just a phone call or mouse click away for anyone affected by breast cancer. Every penny raised will help to make sure that the free helpline, information-packed website and special face-to-face support services are free to use for anyone who needs them. For more information visit www.breastcancercare.org.uk

What is breast screening?
Breast screening is a method of detecting breast cancer at a very early stage. The first step involves an x-ray of each breast - a mammogram - which is taken while carefully compressing the breast. The mammogram can detect small changes in breast tissue which may indicate cancers which are too small to be felt either by the woman herself or by a doctor.

NHS Breast Screening Programme: coverage of women aged 53-70 in North Yorkshire and York

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