I am asking our TD’s to support an extension of BreastCheck, the national free screening programme, to women aged 65-69 years of age. At present BreastCheck invites women aged 50-64 years for screening every two years.

The 2011 Programme for Government promised to extend the free screening service to women aged 65-69 years old. This was to be carried out in 2014. This has not happened. I would like you to pass on my concerns to the Minister for Health and ensure that the extension to this age group is included in the HSE’s National Services Plan 2015.

Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women in Ireland (excluding non-melanoma skin cancer). On average 2,781 women are diagnosed with breast cancer every year. Women have a 1 in 10 chance of developing breast cancer during the course of their life time.

Early detection is the key to longer survival as the cancer is found and treated early. Regular screening should reduce the risk of death from breast cancer by 35%.