A Dunmurry woman has become the 10,000th woman in the north to be screened for breast cancer this year on local charity Action Cancer’s Big Bus.

Angela Maxwell’s screening is a record-breaker for the charity, which is the only one in Ireland and the UK to offer free breast screening to asymptomatic women outside the NHS screening range of 40 to 49 and over 70.

The charity’s digital mammography equipment can detect cancer in its early stages when treatment can be more successful. Now Angela is encouraging other local women to book their appointment to be screened.

“When I saw the breast screening service advertised on Facebook, I decided to make an appointment,” she said. “The mammogram was really easy and quick, only taking 10 minutes. I would like to encourage other women to pick up the phone or book a breast screening online.”

Approximately 1,240 women are diagnosed with breast cancer here every year and annually the disease claims some 300 lives.

Consultant radiographer Joanna Currie said the mammogram can save lives by detecting cancer early.

“We are delighted to reach this milestone, screening 1,704 more women than last year,” she said. “The truth of the matter is the more women we screen the more lives we can save. With approximately five cancers detected per 1,000 screenings we will have picked up 50 cancers in the last year.”

 Women aged 40-49 or 70 plus can book an appointment online at www.actioncancer.org or call 028 9080 3344.