Published Wednesday, 18 September 2013
October marks Breast Cancer Awareness Month (BCAM) and every year Action Cancer endeavours to heighten awareness of our free breast screening service for women aged 40-49 and 71 plus who are outside of the NHS screening age.
One of the charity's new ambassadors who will be encouraging others to get checked out is 49-year-old Fiona Cochrane.
She was diagnosed with breast cancer last year, after friends and family nagged her to make an appointment with action cancer.
Her mother had the disease, and Fiona admits to being nervous making the call to book the session.
"It was a bit surprised when I got a telephone call rather than a letter and they just said, 'we've discovered something a little unusual in one of your breasts, it's probably just your age, nothing to worry about but we'd like it checked out'.
It was a call that would save Fiona's Life.
She had her mammogram at the beginning of September and in October she underwent a mastectomy and reconstruction.
"I had no chemo, no radiotherapy and not even tamoxifen to take," she said.
"Here I am fit and healthy, back to work and no issues."
When Action Cancer started its screening process, 2,000 women a year turned out for screenings. This increased to over 8,000 last year.
The whole process is now easier due to an online booking system for the service which detects cancer in around 50 to 60 women every year in NI.
Joanna Currie, consultant radiographer said: "We're finding cancers now with the technology we have that are millimetres in size, obviously nobody feels anything that early and doesn't have any symptoms.
"If we can get women at that stage, early detection definitely does save lives."
© UTV News