The collaboration is part of a campaign to improve uptake of breast screening, after years of declining attendance in England.
Asda has so far made space for screening units in three of their car parks in England and one in Scotland, in the hope of improving convenience and visibility. Further locations will be identified, based on an assessment by local Breast Screening Services, and should the offer be right for specific communities, work in lockstep with the routine invitation cycle.
This initiative launches in Asda’s 27th year of supporting breast cancer charities through its Tickled Pink Partnership. Central to this is a commitment to support early diagnosis of the disease by helping normalise breast awareness, encouraging a million more people in the UK to carry out checks regularly and raising funds for Breast Cancer Now and CoppaFeel!
This positive initiative will also help contribute towards wider efforts to increase visibility and awareness of the importance of breast screening and encourage more women to take up their breast screening invite.
Baroness Delyth Morgan, Chief Executive at Breast Cancer Now: “We’re delighted that NHS England and our long-term partner, Asda, are working together to improve the convenience of vital breast screening, with ASDA offering many of their car parks as locations for breast screening vans in England. Breast screening is a key tool for detecting breast cancer early, as critically, the sooner the disease is diagnosed, the more likely treatment is to be successful. As such, we welcome this important initiative which will help improve people’s awareness of breast screening and could provide this vital service in new areas of the community.”
Dr Nisha Sharma, Director of Breast Screening and Clinical Lead for breast imaging at Leeds Teaching Hospital NHS Trust: “Breast Screening is a vital tool in detecting cancers at an earlier stage, which can make all the difference, and we’re so pleased to have this local Breast Screening mobile unit in Morley Asda car park available, providing a convenient and accessible option to so many women.”
Jo Warner, Senior Director Corporate Responsibility and ESG/Asda Spokesperson: “With breast screening attendance declining in recent years, we knew we could do something practical to help. Opening up space in our car parks to host mobile screening units felt like a natural extension to three decades of fundraising and breast cancer awareness raising efforts – and our hope is it will help to improve visibility and convenience of screening and ultimately drive earlier diagnosis and better outcomes for those affected by breast cancer.”
Jeanette Lane, who works on the kiosk at Asda Dagenham, knows all too well how important it is to attend routine breast screening. Following her mammogram in March 2018, the results found invasive breast cancer in one breast and non-invasive breast cancer in the other breast. Following numerous biopsies, it was confirmed Jeanette had invasive lobular breast cancer. Jeanette then had biopsies on her lymph nodes in July, and in August 2018, Jeanette had a double mastectomy with immediate first stages of reconstruction, followed by radiotherapy. She then went on to have full reconstruction surgery in 2019.
Jeanette: “The one thing I would say to everyone is to keep checking yourself regularly, and don’t miss any routine mammograms. If I hadn’t attended my mammogram appointment, I would never have known about my breast cancer.”
Following years of declining breast screening attendance in England, this availability of alternative mobile screening unit locations comes as Breast Cancer Now’s #NoTimeToWaste campaign calls on the government to urgently invest in the NHS Breast Screening Programme, to guarantee its accessibility to all eligible women, and ensure it has enough staff and resources to offer the care women deserve, now and in decades to come.
Cover photograph: Screening-Van-located-at-Morley-Asda-Car-Park-Howley-Park-Road-Morley-Leeds-LS27-0BP