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Health / Mobile breast screening service to return

AROUND 3,500 Shetland women between the age of 50 and 70 will be receiving invitations over the next few months to attend breast screenings in Lerwick.

A mobile unit will return to Shetland on Monday 13 June, and it will be based at Clickimin Leisure Complex until early October.

The breast screening service visits every three years and Shetland has one of the highest uptakes in the country.

On the last visit in 2019, 84 per cent of eligible women attended for screening.

North East of Scotland Breast Screening Service manager Sarah Philip is encouraging all those invited to attend.

“Women between the ages of 50 and 70 years who are registered with a GP practice will receive an invitation for screening,” she said.

“Unfortunately due to the backlog created by the COVID-19 pandemic, we cannot accept self-referrals from those outwith the eligible age group.  We encourage anyone with symptoms or changes to their breasts to see their GP.

“Shetland has an impressive record with breast screening uptake and I would urge all eligible Shetland women to continue to take advantage of this important screening programme as they have done in the past.

“Women attending for screening will have two views taken of each breast.

“A small percentage of women who require further assessment will subsequently be recalled to the centre in Aberdeen for review.

“It is really important that women continue to come for screening each time we visit Shetland so that we can ensure there have been no changes in the three years since we were last here.

“If any woman missed or failed to attend three years ago it is still important to come along for screening this time.”

Invitation letters will be sent out approximately three to four weeks prior to the screening appointment date.

NHS Shetland’s interim director of public health Dr Susan Laidlaw said: “The risk of developing breast cancer increases as you get older and the best way to screen for it is by having regular mammograms as you may not be able to see or feel any early changes in the breast tissue.  Detecting cancer early provides the best chance of successful treatment.

“If there is any woman in Shetland who thinks that they should be eligible for screening, but does not receive an appointment, please contact the Breast Screening Centre on 01224 550570.

“The mobile unit will again be sited at Clickimin, as in previous years. I would like to thank the Shetland Recreational Trust for its help and support over the past few months in ensuring we can accommodate the unit in Shetland this year and in future years.”