EastEnders' Mo Calls on Women to Attend Breast Screening

Actress and breast cancer survivor visits new suite at Charing Cross

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Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust

West London Breast Screening Service

Chelsea and Westminster Hospital

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EastEnders star Laila Morse called on women to attend their breast screening appointment as she officially opened a new breast screening suite at Charing Cross Hospital.

Laila said: "I’m extremely pleased to be opening this new screening suite. I had a lumpectomy and needed radiotherapy for 12 weeks after I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2000. I’ve got the all-clear and am completely over it."

Laila, famous for her role as Mo Harris in the BBC soap, said: "I really urge women to attend when they are invited for an appointment. Screening only takes a few minutes and saves many lives. If the disease is caught early you’ve got a much better chance.

"All the staff are very friendly and the new unit has a nice calming atmosphere which is important for women who may feel scared."

Actress Laila Morse with nurses at Charing Cross Hospital

Laila with clinical nurse specialists Sue McInerney and Vickki Harmer

Laila unveiled a wall plaque commemorating the opening which was attended by staff, patients, and local MPs Andy Slaughter and Greg Hands. Guests received a guided tour of the new unit, which is run by the West of London Breast Screening Service at the hospital and which replaces the mobile screening vans previously used.

Deborah Cunningham, lead clinician for women’s cancers at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, thanked Laila for attending the event. She said: "Attending breast screening is so important so we’re grateful that we have a high-profile celebrity to help get the message out.

"We now have a fabulous screening and assessment suite which provides excellent facilities for women living in west London. We cover Hillingdon, Ealing, Hounslow, Hammersmith, Fulham, Chelsea, and Westminster. The state-of-the-art equipment makes it easier and faster for any breast abnormalities to be seen and a lower dose of radiation is used to acquire the images.

"Overall the service screened more than 35,000 women in the west London area last year. Our staff do their very best to look after the women who come here."

In the UK women aged between 50 and 70 are invited for screening once every three years. An extension of the age range to include women aged 47 to 73 is being trialled. The borough of Hammersmith and Fulham has one of the lowest levels of uptake in the country with almost half of women not attending their appointment.

Around 20 women from Hammersmith and Fulham die of breast cancer each year.

Julie Somers, programme manager for the West of London Breast Screening Service, said: "The suite is better designed than the mobile unit for all clients including those with special needs. It has a relaxed and reassuring atmosphere."

She added: "Screening can detect breast cancer early, when it is too small for you or your doctor to see or feel. And we know that women who had early-stage breast cancer detected through screening and had treatment afterwards can live as long as the rest of the UK female population."

For more information visit www.westlondonbreastscreening.nhs.uk.

 

October 24, 2012