Women across Edinburgh have been featured in a unique Walk of Fame.
Usually featuring faces from the world of Hollywood, the attraction outside the city’s Asda Chesser instead recognised four women from Edinburgh who are the stars of a different kind of screen – breast screening.
These women, who regularly attend their breast screening appointments, have backed the Detect Cancer Early campaign, to drive home the fact that breast screening saves lives.
Having lent their names to a star, they hope to encourage other women to find out more about breast screening and for eligible women to consider attending their next appointment.
Linda Anderson, 62, unveiled her star on the walk today and spoke of how she views screening as an important but routine appointment – and one she would never miss. Linda was diagnosed with breast cancer seven years ago, when she was just 55 years old, after a routine mammogram. She is now fit and well and a strong advocate of the Scottish Breast Cancer Screening Programme.
All women in Scotland between 50-70 are invited for breast screening every three years. Figures highlight that 70.7 per cent of women in the Lothian health board area attended their appointments between 2010 and 20131, meaning almost a third didn’t.
The campaign aims to give women all the facts so they can choose whether they want to attend when the appointment card next drops through their letterbox.
New research2 has highlighted that almost a fifth of Scottish women aged 50 and over (15 per cent) think they need to wait for an invitation if they’ve missed an appointment in the last two years. In fact, anyone who has missed an appointment in the last two years can easily reschedule by calling their regional screening centre.
One in nine women in Scotland will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime, and because breast screening can detect tiny cancers that often can’t be seen or felt, when they are at an earlier stage and easier to treat, it’s estimated that it saves around 130 lives in Scotland every year.
Linda Anderson who attends the South East of Scotland Breast Screening Centre, said:
“The first time I went I wasn’t sure what to expect, so I suppose I was a little apprehensive. Once you’ve been, you see how quick the process is. The person who does the mammogram is always a female and the staff at the centre are very professional which helps put you at ease.
“I choose to get screened because it could save my life. It’s a personal choice, but I now view it the same way I would view a doctor or dentist’s appointment. As you get older, it’s important to take time to look after yourself and your health. I’m happy to put my name to the campaign if talking about my experience helps encourage others to find out more about screening and even attend for their appointment.”
Janet Clarke, Clinical Lead, South East of Scotland Breast Screening Centre said:
“Women are five times more likely to survive breast cancer if it is diagnosed and treated at the earliest stage.
“That’s why we’re supporting the national campaign, to raise awareness of the importance of breast screening, and I would encourage any woman in Edinburgh who has missed their screening appointment to get in touch with us today.
“To help you decide and know what to expect, I’d recommend watching Elaine C Smith having her recent mammogram at getcheckedearly.org.
“While screening is the best way to detect breast cancer early, it’s also important to check your breasts regularly in between screenings, and be aware of any persistent or unusual changes. If you spot anything, don’t delay in making an appointment with your GP.”
For more information on breast screening or to find details of your closest breast screening centre visit getcheckedearly.org or text BREAST and your POSTCODE to 61611