Star of stage and TV keen to help younger women understand their risks
At 11:00am on 27 November 2009, actress and singer Samantha Barks – star of Aladdin at the Theatre Royal, Windsor – will officially launch BreastHealth UK’s new clinic at the Spire Thames Valley Hospital in Wexham, which offers new types of screening to women of all ages.
“A lot of women – younger women especially – don’t realise how simple and important it is to self-check, and to have regular screening,” said Sam.
“I’m delighted to open this new clinic and to be involved in raising awareness, to encourage women of all ages to take better care of their breast health.”
Sam will perform in the title role in Aladdin at the Theatre Royal Windsor from 9 December to 10 January. She will officially launch the new BreastHealth UK clinic at the Spire Thames Valley Hospital on 27 November. The new clinic will ensure that women throughout the region have fast-track access to experienced consultants and convenient, well-equipped and expertly-staffed facilities for breast care.
Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in women under 35, and most new cases arise in women with no prior family history of the disease. The earlier breast cancer is detected, the better the chances of survival and the less the personal trauma. As well as offering advanced screening technologies, the BHUK clinic will also have specialist nurses who can perform clinical breast examination and teach women how to check themselves properly.
Sam, who is 19, is keen that younger women know how to check their own breasts and are aware of the screening technology that is now available.
“Thankfully, no-one close to me has been affected by breast cancer,” she says. “But I’m very conscious that it’s something that can affect any woman, and so awareness of your body and any changes is really important.”
Mr Stephen Knight, consultant breast surgeon at the BreastHealth UK Thames Valley clinic, said,
“One in nine women in the UK will develop breast cancer and every year more than 44,000 new cases are diagnosed. We will be offering the Breast Health Risk Assessment test, which uses the latest genetic understanding coupled with lifestyle, medical and family history factors. It can help us to gauge a young woman’s personal risk, enabling us to tailor an individual breast screening programme, with appropriate counselling, just for her.
“Mammography is used as part of the routine screening programme for women between 50 and 70, but it is generally less effective for younger women who have denser breast tissue. BHUK offers other approaches which are beneficial for these women, enabling us to offer an enhanced service. Women can access our clinic quickly, and without a GP referral.”
“It’s fantastic that women will have easy access to these services, whatever their age,” said Sam.
The new BreastHealth UK clinic will offer access to a personalised breast screening programme that may include mammography, clinical breast examination, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and other screening technologies, depending on a woman’s personal level of risk and other circumstances.
Samantha Barks leads the cast of Aladdin at the Theatre Royal Windsor from 9 December to 10 January. For information visit www.theatreroyalwindsor.co.uk
For more information about BreastHealth UK, visit www.breasthealthuk.com