Louth Fianna Fáil Senator, Erin McGreehan, is seeking for additional resources to be given to BreastCheck to clear the backlog following the pause in the programme due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
In order to protect the health and wellbeing of both patients and staff, BreastCheck was paused between March and end of October 2020 and due to the high levels of COVID-19 in the community, the Programme was paused again in January/February 2021.
Since March, BreastCheck has restarted inviting women for routine screening.
Senator McGreehan said: “I am very worried about missed diagnosis.
"Breast Cancer is so prevalent however many do recover from the illness.
"But like every cancer – screening is imperative, and it really can be the difference in life or death.
“I have asked that extra resources be given to clear this backlog, a delayed diagnosis is such a worry for so many people.
"The consequences of this is that the two-tier health system that we have in this country kicks in and if you pay for a breast check you will be able to get an appointment.
“This is not acceptable and if an individual can go and pay for it and receive an appointment then the state should be utilising this service. This is not an acceptable situation, we should be thriving for health equality not deepening health inequality.”
Raising the issue with the Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly, Senator McGreehan also enquired whether the age of eligibility for BreastCheck could be lowered to women aged 40 and above.
The Louth Senator added: “I also note that there is a growing number of younger women presenting with breast cancer.
"I have contacted the Minister of Health asking that the age for screening would be reduced to 40.
"There needs to be more awareness on how women can empower themselves- to check themselves for irregularities in their breast tissue.”