Breast Screening Service and Alley Theatre are Supporting October Breast Cancer Awareness Month

08/10/2020

Our Breast Screening Service along with Alley Theatre Strabane are supporting October Breast Cancer Awareness Month by highlighting the importance of woman who have been offered a breast screening appointment to attend as early detection saves lives.

Dr Paul Farry, Director of Breast Screening at the Western Trust is asking all woman who have been offered a breast screening appointment to attend the mobile screening unit located in Altnagelvin, Strabane and Omagh areas over the coming months.

Dr Farry said: “Breast screening is designed to pick up breast cancers at a very early stage when they are too small to see or feel. It is very important that women attend for their appointment when invited. ”

“Population screening programmes across Northern Ireland were paused in March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The pause has meant there is now a backlog of women who did not have screening at their regular time. As part of the Trust’s restart and recovery plan we have now offered all ladies from Enniskillen affected by the screening pause appointments and begin to screen ladies from Omagh and Strabane over the coming weeks with a slight delay to their usual appointment in the three year screening cycle.

“As a Trust we are keen to offer women an appointment as quickly as possible to enable us to diagnose breast cancers that are asymptomatic in a timely fashion.”

“The screening programme in the Western Trust recommenced on 20 July 2020 and breast screening staff have been working tirelessly to support extended day working and additional weekend sessions to help with the backlog of women for breast screening, as we work under reduced appointment capacity due to social distancing and infection control measures in place for Covid-19.

Dr Farry continued: “The previous mobile unit location of Greenfields Nursing Home, Strabane was no longer feasible to use given the ongoing pandemic and we are delighted that the Alley Theatre management and staff have welcomed the Screening Unit to the courtyard at the side of the building.

“We are currently sending out appointment letters to woman aged (50 to 70 years) who are registered with GP Practices in the Strabane area which include Riverside Health Centre, The Family Practice and Mourneside Medical. The Mobile Screening Unit located at the Alley Theatre Courtyard, Strabane will begin screening from Monday 5 October 2020 until December 2020. Some appointments will also be offered at Altnagelvin Hospital as we try to increase appointment capacity which has been reduced by 30% due to social distancing and infection control measures.”

Alley Theatre Manager Jacqueline Doherty commented: “We are delighted to be supporting Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and it a pleasure for us to be hosting the Western Trust’s Breast Screening Mobile Unit in our very own Alley Courtyard. We at the Alley Theatre have always prided ourselves on promoting health and wellbeing through the arts, and what better way to encourage women to attend their screening appointments than to have the breast screening unit right on our doorstep in the heart of Strabane. The mobile breast screening unit is such a great facility to have especially in these uncertain times, it is a reminder that we must look after ourselves and how important it is to attend screening appointments. We wish all the staff and woman who attend the unit to stay safe and look after each other.”

What to expect from your breastscreening appointment