A BREAST cancer survivor is urging women not to ignore invitations for potentially life-saving screenings.
Brenda Grice spoke out after new figures reveal around half of women eligible for free screenings in some in areas of Leeds and Wakefield district have not taken up the up the offer.
The NHS conducts a breast screening programme on a three-year cycle which gives all women aged 47 to 73 the opportunity of having a mammogram.
Less than 50 per cent of women in some areas of Castleford did not have a screening when offered while just 57 per cent of women asked in Beeston took up the most recent screening offer.
Average take up rates for screenings in the rest of Wakefield district and the majority of Leeds postcodes were more than 70 per cent.
Mrs Grice, 67, of Castleford, whose mother died of breast cancer, said: “Two years ago I attended a routine breast screening appointment and a few days later I received a letter through the post asking me back for further tests.
“After a biopsy I was told straight away I had cancer, but that it had been caught in the early stages and this would improve my chances of surviving it.”
After a lumpectomy – an operation to remove the cancerous lump – and 15 sessions of radiotherapy she was given the all clear.
She added: “I can’t understand why someone wouldn’t attend a screening appointment. I truly believe that attending the screening appointment has given me an extra few years of life. My experience has made me realise how precious life is, if it hadn’t been for the screening I honestly don’t know where I’d be now.”
Coun Pat Garbutt, Wakefield Council’s cabinet member for adults and health, said: “It’s so important that people take advantage of the early screening available for breast cancer. It really can save lives.”