North East cancer centre is urging women to get screened for breast cancer this World Health Day
A cancer centre in the North East which operates a specialist breast clinic offering fast-tracked diagnostic investigations is calling on women to get screened for breast cancer this World Health Day (Thursday 7 April).
The Rutherford Cancer Centre North East operates a triple assessment breast clinic of offering quality and rapid breast care services, supported by specialist consultants and dedicated clinical teams. The clinic has been open since January last year and has expanded the range and accessibility of cancer services to women across the North East.
According to Breast Cancer Now, it is estimated that about one million women in the UK missed appointments for mammogram screenings due to Covid-19. It is believed that about 8,600 women could be living with undiagnosed breast cancer after missing out on screening.
Population breast screening services in England were suspended in March 2020 due to COVID-19. As a result, it is believed that an estimated 148 to 687 additional breast cancer deaths may occur due to pandemic-related disruptions.
Data from Macmillan Cancer Support shows that soaring numbers of women across the country are being diagnosed with advanced breast cancer, with the number of women being diagnosed with stage 4 as much as 48% higher in some months than expected. At the same time, fewer women are being confirmed as having breast cancer at stage 1, when their chances of responding well to treatment and living longer are much higher.
Rebecca Simmons, centre manager for the Rutherford Cancer Centre North East, said: “Early detection saves lives and can vastly improve prognosis, particularly when it comes to breast cancer. Unfortunately, the impact of the pandemic can be clearly felt, but what matters now is that patients get diagnosed and treated as quickly as possible.
“We have the capacity to make sure patients receive a rapid diagnosis and treatment, offering access to mammography, ultrasound, MRI and surgical care. We’ve been able to see and treat women continuously throughout the pandemic, making sure women in the North East receive the very best of care. We operate a one-stop clinic – which essentially means we are able to provide fast access to our diagnostic services to anyone who has experienced any symptoms. Most of the time, for the women who come in, we don’t find anything of concern.”
A lump of thickened tissue on the breast is commonly the first sign of breast cancer. However, changes to the skin, asymmetry, nipple discharge or retraction, breast or nipple pain, or swollen lymph nodes under the arm or near the collarbone may also be a sign of the disease.
Rebecca added: “A breast cancer diagnosis is a scary thing to hear but it is much easier to treat when it is caught early and that’s why it’s important that as soon as there is a sign or symptom of concern it gets checked out immediately. so getting to know your breasts regardless of your age, knowing what to look out for and when to seek medical attention can help diagnose cancer early.”