This is a recent response from the Office of the Minister for Health, Simon Harris.
The Minister for Health, Simon Harris, T.D., has asked me to thank you for your recent letter concerning breast cancer, and specifically the issue of breast density.
BreastCheck, the National Breast Screening Programme, operates in line with screening protocols which are underpinned by National Guidelines for Quality Assurance in Mammography Screening and further supported by European policy guidelines. These protocols ensure that all women eligible for the programme receive the highest quality mammography screening based on international evidence.
At present, digital mammography platforms do not provide a quantifiable breast density measurement. BreastCheck has always emphasised that any screening mammogram cannot detect all cancers and, therefore, a woman developing any symptom after a normal mammogram should contact their GP. Digital mammography was introduced by BreastCheck in 2007 following a successful pilot programme which demonstrated significant improvements in diagnostic accuracy, particularly for women with denser breast tissue, when compared to analogue or screen-film mammography.
The digital format has resulted in enhancement of image quality, particularly associated with improved visualisation of dense breast tissue. Digital mammography also results in significant reductions in radiation dose associated with screening examinations, and allows images to be acquired and viewed in a shorter time.
BreastCheck continues to monitor changes and improvements in breast screening practices in the international arena and will continue to respond and adapt to these changes, as they have in the past.
This response is a confirmation that at present, digital mammography platforms in Ireland do not provide a breast density measurement. BreastCheck emphasise that any screening mammogram cannot detect all cancers and, therefore, a woman developing any symptom after a normal mammogram should contact their GP.
For decades it has been globally recognised that breast density is an independent riskfactor for breast cancer. Women in Ireland want change to current breast screening protocols and to be given their breast density measurement. They can then choose the right level of supplemental screening that right for them, allowing them to make an informed decision.
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Know your #breastdensity – ASK NOW