Column: Embarrassment will pass ... cancer won’t!

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I’m yet to meet a woman who doesn’t sigh or extravagantly eye roll when they receive an appointment letter through the post – something else to squeeze into your hectic life, right?

Heaven knows it’s no small feat to juggle work, quality family time and saving some spare time to enjoy yourself on top of attending health appointments. But, there are few things as important as taking up your breast screening invitation.

I can just hear you all defiantly announcing that you check your own breasts

Now let’s be honest here, nobody wants to actively set aside time in their schedules specifically for the purpose of getting their breasts out in front of a stranger. I hear you loud and clear girls and I agree but I promise you it’s entirely worth it. Sure, there’ll be blushing but there’ll also be reassurance, female comradery and the peace of mind that you could be saving your life. It could be the ten minutes that means you are around to spend time with your family and do the things you enjoy for years to come.

In the UK, one person is diagnosed with breast cancer every 10 minutes and the women who don’t attend their screening appointments are the most vulnerable.

I can just hear you all defiantly announcing that you check your own breasts (ten brownie points if you do) but there are certain things that a mammogram can pick up that you might not be able to feel yourself. Mammograms can detect that you have breast cancer before you show any signs or symptoms and early detection offers you the best chance of successful treatment and full recovery.

If you are aged 50 to 70 keep an eye out for your invitation to your appointment in the post. If you can’t make the appointment offered, don’t worry just ring the screening unit on 01709 424807 and it can easily be rearranged.

The bottom line is ... we’re all human. We get nervous and embarrassed before health checks but this shouldn’t keep us from attending them.

The embarrassment will pass but breast cancer won’t – unless it’s picked up early and treated.