I propose to take Questions Nos. 63, 94, 133, 138, 154, 222 and 229 together.
As the causes of breast cancer remain to be clearly established, emphasis is placed on early detection at the pre-invasive stage, through mammography, and consequent early treatment. The yield from mammography is highly dependent upon the medical equipment being used and the expertise of the health professionals involved in the procedure.
At present in Ireland, mammography is used largely as a diagnostic tool for symptomatic or worried women on referral by their general practitioners. There are now diagnostic mammography units at 17 hospitals throughout the country and expertise has been growing in all aspects of the early detection of breast cancer and its treatment.
Some months ago I met representatives of the Irish Countrywomen's Association to discuss breast cancer services generally. As a result of our discussions, my Department's Health Promotion Unit together with the Irish Cancer Society are arranging a number of seminars on breast awareness over the coming months in order to increase public awareness of breast cancer and other aspects of women's health.