There is a lot of anxiety in Portlaoise about breast cancer, following the announcement that Hollywood star, Angelina Jolie had a double mastectomy, according to Councillor Kathleen O’Brien.
At last week’s meeting of Portlaoise Town Council, the Fine Gael councillor called on the HSE to extend the age limit for Breastcheck to 70 years of age.
“There is a lot of anxiety among people following Angelina Jolie’s operation.
“She carries the BRCA1 gene, and although it’s rare it’s genetic so it is in families,” she said.
Cllr O’Brien continued: “It is a rare gene, only a few women have it, but for anyone that is worried about it, they should go to their Doctor who will refer them to the clinic for the test.”
She said Breastcheck had been very effective for women, but the age limit needed to be extended.
“Currently, it is for women aged between 50 and 64, and you are tested every two years.
“But I think it should be extended to 70 years of age, as women as old as 80 can get breast cancer,” she said.
Mayor of Portlaoise, Cllr Catherine Fitzgerald said it was a very good motion.
“Two services that have been excellent are Breastcheck and the smear test. The feedback from everyone has been excellent.”
However, Cllr Fitzgerald said one fault was people not turning up.
“It happens to us all when we can’t attend, but to not even ring. I’m appealing to people who are given an appointment to use it. Both services are free, I don’t think there’s enough recognition for the Department of Health.”
Cllr Caroline Dwane called for earlier screening.
“It’s important that women are screened from 40 upwards.”