A local campaign group is urging Donegal women to attend their BreastCheck appointments and not miss out on vital screening.

Donegal Action for Cancer Care has shared serious concerns over reports that uptakes among initial women are very low at 42%.

“This means that they have to reappoint those ladies and essentially means that the service are not maximising appointments,” said group spokesperson Betty Holmes.

The group has been told that the BreastCheck Unit in Letterkenny will be open 5 days a week for the next 2 months and will potentially do some Saturdays also if the service is able to assign staff who may carry this out.

“BreastCheck have relocated a radiographer from the Southern unit to Donegal for 2 months to try to support the service and others will go up on rotation,” Ms Holmes said.

BreastCheck last year were in a position to open two mobiles in Donegal due to unexpected available capacity from another BreastCheck unit but are not in a position to do this again in the near future.

Like many areas in the health service BreastCheck have experienced staffing issues due to COVID and it is very challenging to overcome these.

BreastCheck is the national breast screening programme. The aim of the programme is to find breast cancer early and to provide treatment of breast cancer in women who show no symptoms of the disease. The programme offers all women between the ages of 50 and 69 a mammogram (an x-ray of the breast) free of charge every 2 years.

“Remember the life you save could be your own by attending your BreastCheck appointment,” Ms Holmes added.