Breast screening is an essential tool in the fight against breast cancer, and now – during Breast Cancer Awareness Month – a mobile breast screening unit is calling Lakeside Shopping Centre its home for the next year and a half.
It means women from Chafford Hundred, Grays and Corringham will now have less of a journey with the unit in a great central location with free parking and easy access.
The essential service is run by South Essex Breast Screening Service - part of Mid and South Essex NHS Foundation Trust.
Breast Screening Programme Manager, Victoria Prendergast, explains how breast screening in the community plays a really important role as it helps identify breast cancer early.
She said: “We’re delighted to be welcoming women back to our brand new unit in this great new location. This is a fantastic location, as it’s so public, creates a buzz and raises awareness for all the people visiting Lakeside.
“It raises important questions and gets women talking. Without mobile units such as this, women in this area would need to travel to Southend Hospital for their screening.”
Women are routinely invited every 3 years aged between 50 – 71 years of age to book a convenient appointment for their breast screening (mammogram). Women over the age of 71 can continue to have breast screening every 3 years by self-referring themselves into the service.
Victoria added: “The earlier the condition is found, the better the chances of surviving it.
The unit, which was purchased this year, features a state-of-the-art mammogram machine and the site has already recorded a great attendance since opening, with over 40 women being seen each day, five days a week.
Howard Oldstein, Centre Director at Lakeside, said: “It’s great to be able to offer the breast screening service in this easy-to-access location, and wonderful to see there has been a lot of interest from shoppers.
“If we have helped encourage just one person to find out more information about breast cancer and screening, then it has all been worthwhile.”
Other mobile units in the area include Warrior Square Car Park located in Southend, Robert Frew Medical Centre Car Park in Wickford and a static site Nightingale Centre based at Southend Hospital.