To mark International Women’s Day on Sunday, March 8th 2020, Breast Cancer Ireland is calling on Irish women to prioritize good breast health. We’re inviting women to download our free Breast Aware educational app, which helps women, through a monthly reminder and a simulated video guide, to perform a self-breast check exam properly highlighting the eight signs and symptoms to look out for. We’re also calling on those tasked with minding our women, namely teachers, community groups and HR teams, to consider booking a visit with our outreach team for this complimentary service.

Over the past three years, BCI have presented to over 5,000 Transition Year students and their teachers in secondary schools around Ireland. This year with the backing of leading insurance firm, Cornmarket Group Financial Services, funding for two additional outreach coordinators was facilitated. The Breast Health Education and Awareness Programme was extended at the start of the academic year with the aim of including visits to every primary school in the country. A team of six outreach nurses and coordinators are now travelling throughout Ireland, educating teachers and support staff on how to perform a self-breast examination and highlighting for women and for men, the signs and symptoms to recognize. This complimentary service now covers Leinster, Munster and Connaught.  The team will continue to visit businesses and the wider community as part of their overall remit

After just five months of the extended programme over 500 expressions of interest have been received from school and organisations and presentations have been made to over 1,500 teachers bringing to over 40,000, the number of women that have directly heard BCI’s important good breast health messages since the campaign began. Most importantly, four early cases of breast cancer, that otherwise would not have been picked up, have been identified and patients are undergoing treatment.

Using a special adapted medical mannequin showing the eight symptoms of breast cancer, the coordinators educate those in attendance on how to recognize the symptoms and how to perform a self-breast examination. Cornmarket has been working with Breast Cancer Ireland for the past three years and found through their research that a large percentage of claims related to cancer, in particular to breast cancer, and therefore teamed up with Breast Cancer Ireland and INTO for this latest extension to the outreach project.

Understanding the signs and symptoms leads to earlier detection and ultimately a better survival outcome. Our CEO Aisling Hurley comments, “On this International Women’s Day we aim to educate women and men to understand  the signs and symptoms of breast cancer so that if an abnormality arises, they’ll detect it a lot quicker – ultimately lives will be saved and lives will be lived and our fabulous Irish women will thrive”. 

Women are encouraged to identify the eight signs/symptoms that should be of concern such as puckering of the skin of the breast; lump in breast or armpit; change in skin around nipple or nipple discharge; dimpling of the nipple or nipple retraction; unusual increase in the size of one breast; one breast unusually lower than the other – nipples at different levels; enlargement of the glands; unusual swelling in the armpit.

If you would like to book an appointment by the Outreach Team, please email info@breastcancerireland.com

To download our app, please click on the following link https://www.breastcancerireland.com/education-awareness/free-to-download-app/