Michelle McManus to launch Breast Cancer Awareness campaign in the Western Isles

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Popular Scottish singer and presenter Michelle McManus is set to travel to the Western Isles next week to officially launch the local Breast Cancer Awareness campaign.

Invited by NHS Western Isles to launch the campaign in Barra on October 2 and Stornoway on October 4, Michelle will attend organised sessions open to the public to help spread the message that lumps aren’t the only sign of breast cancer.

October is national Breast Cancer Awareness month and NHS Western Isles and the Lewis and Harris Breast Cancer Support Group are urging local people to look out for any unusual changes to their breasts, and to see their doctor immediately if they have any concerns.

‘Lumps aren’t the only sign of breast cancer’ forms part of the national campaign, which focuses on how to spot the signs. It is part of the Scottish Government’s £30 million Detect Cancer Early drive, which aims to increase the early detection of cancer by 25 per cent. The main focus of the national campaign is a new advert, which is the first in the UK to show real pictures of women’s breasts with visible signs of breast cancer.

Michelle McManus is backing the national campaign and was delighted to accept the Western Isles Health Promotion Department’s invitation to launch local events.

Michelle said: “I’ve had the honour of working with various different Breast Cancer charities over the years, from singing at fundraising balls to running the 10K; all to raise funds for the much needed ongoing quest to finally cure this terrible disease. Now I am delighted to say that I’m travelling to the beautiful Western Isles of Scotland to help promote the latest Breast Cancer campaign, fronted by actress Elaine C Smith with a simple but very powerful message of ‘don’t get scared, get checked’. I’m hoping lots of women and men come along to our events on Barra and Stornoway next week as there will be lots of help and advice on hand.”

An afternoon tea/coffee will be held in Northbay Hall, Barra, at 2pm with Michelle opening the event, and local women speaking about their personal experiences of breast cancer. This will be followed by an information session by NHS Western Isles Senior Charge Nurse, Mairi Campbell, on how to be breast aware. Tea and coffee will be served by the local Learning Disabilities Group with proceeds raised being donated to Breast Cancer Care. In the evening, an informal information session will be held at Cobhair Bharraigh in Castlebay from 7-9pm.

Michelle will then travel to Lewis to launch the campaign in Stornoway at the Caladh Inn on Thursday October 4, from 10.30am to 1pm. Michelle will be accompanied by members of the Lewis and Harris Breast Cancer Support Group, who will share their experiences of breast cancer, followed by an information session led by a health professional, on how to be breast aware. Hand and nail treatments will be available for those who attend, as well as pink cupcakes and biscuits. Entry will be by donation, with all proceeds being donated to the local breast cancer support group.

Local people are encouraged to attend any of the sessions, and those who attend are asked to ‘Wear It Pink’ on the day.

Throughout the month of October, the NHS Western Isles Health Promotion Department is organising Breast Cancer Awareness sessions jointly with cancer support groups, which will be offered to workplaces and community groups. Workplaces and communities will also be encouraged to ‘Wear It Pink’, as Friday October 26 is the national ‘Wear It Pink’ Day, which is a national event held annually to raise money for breast cancer research.

NHS Western Isles Chief Executive Gordon Jamieson commented: “We are delighted that Michelle McManus has accepted the invitation of our Health Promotion Department and is coming to the Western Isles to help us to raise awareness of this extremely important campaign. Being aware of the signs and symptoms of breast cancer is vital to detecting cancer early and ultimately saving lives. In fact, you’re five times more likely to survive breast cancer if it’s diagnosed and treated at the earliest stage. That’s why the Detect Cancer Early campaign is so important. The groundbreaking campaign is a UK first, featuring images of breasts from real women who have experienced breast cancer. This is vital to raising awareness of exactly what to look out for, and we hope local people will attend our organised events to learn more.”

Convenor of the Lewis and Harris Breast Cancer Support Group Mary Macleod added: “Women need to be breast aware, which means knowing what their breasts look and feel like normally, so that they are aware of any changes and can get them checked out immediately by their doctor. Lumps are of course vital to look out for but there are other important signs too, such as changes to size, shape, texture and discharge as well.”