Councillor Mary Howard at the BreastCheck clinic in Ennis. Pic: Arthur Ellis

*Councillor Mary Howard at the BreastCheck clinic in Ennis. Pic: Arthur Ellis

A LACK of awareness around the availability of BreastCheck facilities, particularly to foreign nationals is limiting the good progress that is being made in the county, a Clare councillor maintained.

By Liam Moroney

Speaking to The Clare Echo, Cllr Mary Howard (FG) stressed the importance of the service and its availability to all. “The screening services are back up and running after the pause in services during the pandemic”. Currently there is a three year gap between check-up’s which Cllr Howard hopes will be reduced to two in the near future.

Breast Cancer is among the most common cancer diagnosed in women with over 3,400 cases identified annually. However, it is not limited to women with between four and six percent of cases among men. Cllr Howard believes early intervention is key to combatting this disease with regular self-checks and screening essential in order to identify any issues.

The use of private hospitals for the general public has been the source of debate in the past. Cllr Howard felt the facilities could be used to alleviate the pressure on the public system. in 2021, she raised this issue at a meeting of Clare County Council as she wanted to “make breast screening in all private hospitals free to all women and utilise all available resources and facilities to ensure the best outcomes for all women”. She shared the same sentiment when speaking this week, “ I really think that they’re facilities could be used by public patients at the weekend, operated by HSE staff”.

However the need to expand the service is not a runner at this stage due to the “no-shows” that are affecting local units. “I stayed the best part of an hour and nobody showed up. It was soul destroying”. Cllr Howard is keen to stress the service is, “effective, it works and it’s the only mechanism we have”. She urges that those who have not updated their details online may do so in order to be seen promptly.

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Subscribe for just €3 per month

If you’re here, you care about County Clare. So do we. Did you rely on us for Covid-19 updates, follow our election coverage, or visit The Clare Echo every week for breaking news and sport? The Clare Echo invests in local journalism and we want to safeguard its future in our county. By becoming a subscriber you are supporting what we do, will receive access to all our premium articles and a better experience, while helping us improve our offering to you. Subscribe to clareecho.ie and get the first six months for just €3 a month (less than 75c per week), and thereafter €8 per month. Cancel anytime, limited time offer. T&Cs Apply. www.clareecho.ie.

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