around 50 women are diagnosed with breast cancer each year in the Larne and Carrickfergus council areas, according to new information released by Action Cancer.
The charity is now encouraging local women to download a new software application for mobile devices to help them become more breast aware and help reduce those who lose their lives to the disease. At present some 14 women across the two districts die each year from breast cancer.
The new BreastAware app, supported by M&S, was developed to help inform and educate local women on how to become more breast aware and on the importance of screening.
It is the first breast app to be developed by a cancer charity in Northern Ireland and will allow Action Cancer to deliver the vital message of early detection directly into the palms of hands of local women.
Joanna Currie, consultant radiographer at Action Cancer commented: “The BreastAware app presents an easy way to understand how to become more breast aware and aware of lifestyle choices that can increase or decrease your risk of breast cancer.
“There are a number of videos that feature on the app offering advice on screening and on how best to check your breasts, there’s a reminder facility to do so regularly and at the push of a button the ability to make an appointment for screening, counselling or a complementary therapy session.
“Being breast aware and attending for regular breast screenings can effectively help to detect a change in your breast at an early stage when treatment is more likely to be successful. Our hope is that women across Northern Ireland of all ages will download our app, explore it, learn from it and make sure they share it with all their female friends and family to help spread the vital message of early detection.”
Ryan Lemon, Marks & Spencer added: “In June last year I was one of 35 Marks & Spencer staff to embark on the Five Peaks Challenge which saw us climb the five highest peaks in the UK and Ireland in just 48 hours. With the support of our M&S stores across the country we raised £100,000 for Action Cancer, a portion of which was invested in the BreastAware app.
“We’re extremely proud to be a part of this worthwhile initiative which will help women to become more breast aware!”
Action Cancer is the only charity that offers breast screening to local women aged 40 - 49 and over 70, complementing the NHS screening programme which calls women aged 50 - 70.
TV presenter and Action Cancer patron, Zoe Salmon who has lent her support to the initiative said: “This is an incredible development from Action Cancer that will connect with women across Northern Ireland and encourage them to check their breast regularly.
“Many women don’t check their breasts as they don’t know how to check themselves properly or just forget to do it. If they download the BreastAware app they won’t have that excuse.
“I’ve got it to remind me to check and hopefully thousands of women across Northern Ireland will do the same. I’ll certainly be sharing it with all my girlfriends!”
The BreastAware App is now free to download to iPhone, iPod touch and Android Devices from the App Store and Android Market. Visit www.actioncancer.org for more information.