‘Stars of the screen’ join war on cancer

Linda Anderson. Picture: Gareth Easton
Linda Anderson. Picture: Gareth Easton
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WOMEN from the Capital are giving their names to a Hollywood-style walk of fame designed to drive up breast screening rates in Lothian.

The four “stars of the screen”, who all attend regular checks, have been given a star outside Asda’s Chesser store as part of the Detect Cancer Early campaign, to drive home the message that screening saves lives.

All women in Scotland between 50-70 are invited for breast screening every three years, but Lothian figures revealed nearly a third of women did not attend their appointments between 2011-13.

Linda Anderson, 62, has first hand experience of how important screening can be after being diagnosed following a routine appointment seven years ago.

She said: “The first time I went I wasn’t sure what to expect, so I suppose I was a little apprehensive. Once you’ve been, you see how quick the process is. The person who does the mammogram is always a female and the staff at the centre are very professional which helps put you at ease.

“I choose to get screened because it could save my life. It’s a personal choice, but I now view it the same way I would view a doctor or dentist’s appointment. As you get older, it’s important to take time to look after yourself and your health. While it can be a bit scary at first, it really doesn’t take long and it could save your life.

“I didn’t feel anything was wrong in my breast and so I could have put my appointment off because I was too busy.”

And she realises how different things could have been if she had not gone for the screening. She said: “I was able to see my daughter get married last year – if I’d just ignored the letter I might not have got that chance.”

Linda was outside Asda in Chesser yesterday to unveil her star in the new walk of fame. She said: “I’m happy to put my name to the campaign if talking about my experience helps encourage others to find out more about screening.”

One in nine women in Scotland will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime, while it is estimated that screening saves around 130 lives every year.

Janet Clarke, clinical lead at the South East of Scotland Breast Screening Centre, said: “Women are five times more likely to survive breast cancer if it is diagnosed and treated at the earliest stage.”

And she said: “While screening is the best way to detect breast cancer early, it’s also important to check your breasts regularly in between screenings, and be aware of any persistent or unusual changes. If you spot anything, don’t delay in making an appointment with your GP.”

For more information on breast screening or to find details of your closest breast screening centre visit getcheckedearly.org or text BREAST and your POSTCODE to 61611.