Breast Health – Your Wealth

A NEW programme being launched today at the Mardyke Arena in University College Cork hopes to heighten awareness of breast cancer among women along with assisting research, according to a leading cancer specialist who is supporting the project.

Director of Breast Cancer Ireland and professor of surgery at the Royal College of Surgeons Ireland, Prof Arnold Hill, told The Irish Times that the new Breast Health Awareness programme Breast Health – Your Wealth at the Mardyke Arena was an important initiative involving a number of organisations dealing with breast cancer care.

“Our hope in relation to a programme such as this is to offer a platform to heighten breast cancer awareness, research and ultimate treatments and to bring together all breast cancer support services in a collaborative way at one main event to be held in Cork with key speakers from all organisations involved in breast cancer care,” he said.

The Breast Health – Your Wealth awareness programme, which is being launched this afternoon, will run until December. During this time there will be a focus on raising awareness among users of the arena and providing information in the form of advice and education leaflets, along with details of Irish breast health agencies and services, and information seminars, explained Prof Hill.

According to Prof Hill, incidence rates of breast cancer in Ireland appear to be similar to other countries and although survival has been suggested to be less favourable in Ireland, the validity of such data is hard to prove. “Current standards of breast cancer care in Ireland are approaching the very highest level,” he said.

Prof Hill said it may be too early to assess the impact of the roll-out of the Breast Check programme with respect to overall survival from breast cancer, but stressed the importance of early detection.

“Increasing age and family history are the two most important risk factors for the development of breast cancer and early detection is the key to success in the treatment of breast cancer,” said Prof Hill who will be joined at today’s launch by Prof Michael Berndt, head of College of Medicine and Health, UCC.

© 2009 The Irish Times