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Liverpool Mum raises awareness of breast screening appointments

11 months ago

Liverpool Mum raises awareness of breast screening appointments
Credit: NHS

Mum-of-three from Liverpool urges others to attend missed breast screening appointments

Julie Lo, a busy mum-of-three and carer for her husband who has blood cancer, is urging other women in Liverpool to put themselves first, and attend their breast screening appointments at the mobile unit at Liverpool Women’s Hospital, if they have been invited.

Julie, who works for Chinese Wellbeing, realised that she was due a mammogram, only after attending an ‘Awareness of Breast Screening’ event hosted by the organisation.

She said:

“It’s not always easy to make time for myself, I always put my family’s needs first. I was supposed to attend my mammogram appointment in previous years, but not surprisingly I’d completely forgotten. My colleague encouraged me to go for my breast screening, and she said ‘you don’t have to be perfect and get everything right all the time’ and that I should look after myself as well as my loved ones.”

In Liverpool, the uptake of breast screening has consistently fallen lower than the national standard of 70%, but in 2021-22, fewer than 58% of women attended their mammograms. Due to this low uptake, the NHS in Liverpool decided to move their mobile screening unit to a more central location, on the Liverpool Women’s Hospital site, to make attending breast screening more convenient.

More than 4000 women, who have not attended their breast screening appointments in the last three years will now have been contacted by their GP, inviting them to come forward for a mammogram. The NHS is also working with community and faith groups, to reach women in communities who are less likely to come forward for screening, and these groups are providing support and interpretation assistance.

Julie’s organisation, Chinese Wellbeing, are helping people to set up their appointments. She said: “For the people who had the confidence to make their own way to the women’s hospital, we have helped to make appointments, all booked with an interpreter.

“A coordinator helped to arrange for a group of six people to have their appointments on the same morning … It was straightforward, with no waiting time. The staff were nice and efficient, which made the whole process pleasant.”

Breast screening saves around 1,300 lives every year, as screening catches breast cancer when it is too small to see or feel, at earlier stages when it is more treatable. Anyone registered with a GP as female will be invited for breast screening every three years between the ages of 50 and 71.

Screening Equipment - NHS
Credit: NHS

Ms Anu Shrotri, breast surgeon and Director of Breast Screening in Liverpool said:

“I would encourage any women who have recently been invited for a mammogram at the mobile screening unit at Liverpool Women’s Hospital to come forward and make an appointment as soon as they can.

“Our team are here to help and support you through the screening, and we’ll do our best to ensure you feel comfortable.

“Breast screening is one of the best ways we can detect cancer early, when it’s usually easier to treat, may need less treatment, and is more likely to be successfully treated.”

Almost all women who find breast cancer at stages 1 and 2, and are treated will survive for five years or more.

Julie is now helping the community champion at Chinese Wellbeing. She said: “Hopefully, we can approach as many eligible residents as possible to take their breast cancer screening. I will definitely attend my next appointment in three years’ time.”

Find more information about breast screenings on the NHS website

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