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1 in 5 Cornish Women Miss Breast Screenings

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9:27am 30th October 2012
(Updated 9:27am 30th October 2012)

Pirate FM has learnt hundreds of women in Cornwall are missing potentially life-saving screenings for breast cancer.

One in five in places like Callington and Torpoint is not turning up for their mammogram.

St Austell survivor Pauline Giles set up charity Bosom Buddies after battling the disease. She said: "The stark reality is, if I had not gone for my screening I would be dead now. We're given this opportunity and we're so lucky, because other countries don't. It takes five minutes to have it done it done and most people walk away and everything's fine.

"If you don't go to these appointments how do you know you don't have a problem?"

Hear Pauline's story and why she is urging other women not to bury their heads in the sand here...

 
The data from Derriford hospital reveals that in Callington more than 3,000 women were invited to attend appointments, but 300 did not. 250 did not out of more than 2,000 invited in Torpoint and incomplete figures for Liskeard reveal that out of more than 3,000 invited to an appointment almost 400 did not attend.

Dr Jim Steel is in charge of screening in east Cornwall and west Devon. He said: "A bit like seeds in a flower bed, if we can get the weeds out really early before they take root and start growing, that can really make a difference. The outcome from breast cancer is much better if you find the cancer at a screening stage.

"The biggest block that we've got in Cornwall is that if women don't come we can't help them. We've got to find out why that is and do something about it. The biggest difference we could make is if more women came, that would result in us saving more lives - and that's what it's about for me."

Rob Harris from Polzeath lost his wife to cancer. He said: "The loss was devastating, as you can imagine. I have three daughters and they miss her terribly and also two grandchildren, who Bev didn't see grow up. Also, having three daughters it makes them think it could possibly happen to them, so they worry about it as well."

He is now trying to raise awareness and money for breast cancer charities through his Ann's Cottage surf shops. You can hear more of his story here...

 
Pirate FM requested figures for the rest of Cornwall from the Royal Cornwall Hospitals Trust under the Freedom of Information Act, but officials failed to meet a legal twenty working day deadline to supply the information.

The warning signs to watch out for:

  • A change in your breasts size or shape
  • A lump or thickening that feels different from the rest of the breast tissue
  • A change in skin texture, like dimpling or puckering
  • Redness or a rash around the nipple
  • If your nipple becomes inverted or changes position or shape
  • Discharge from the nipple
  • A swelling in your armpit or around your collar bone
  • A constant pain in your breast

Source: Breast Cancer Care

9:27am 30th October 2012

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