This comes at the same time as leading breast cancer charity, Breast Cancer Now, steps up its campaigning efforts to ensure improved breast screening uptake, following years of declining screening attendance in England.
A cross-sector collaboration with Breast Cancer Now, NHS England and Asda, will provide new, alternative locations for the mobile breast screening units, to be used by the NHS Breast Screening programme, run by NHS England.
Asda has made their car parks, in specific regions, available, in a bid to increase convenience and visibility of vital breast screening services in England. The announcement was made as part of an Asda Parliamentary event, hosted by Matt Vickers MP, which focussed on supporting community organisations, utilising store space and fundraising for national charities.
This initiative launches in Asda’s 27th year of supporting breast cancer charities through its Tickled Pink Partnership. Central to this, is a commitment to support early diagnosis of the disease by helping normalise breast awareness, encouraging a million more people in the UK to check their chests more regularly and raising funds for Breast Cancer Now and CoppaFeel!
Asda is currently hosting three mobile breast screening vans in England, as well as one in Scotland, and looks forward to working with regional commissioning teams across England to identify further locations where mobile breast screening vans can make a difference. This will be based on an assessment by local Breast Screening Services, and should the offer be right for specific communities, work in lockstep with the routine invitation cycle.
This positive initiative will also help contribute towards wider efforts to increase visibility and awareness of the importance of breast screening and encourage more women to take up their breast screening invite.
Baroness Delyth Morgan, Chief Executive at Breast Cancer Now said:
“We’re delighted that NHS England and our long-term partner, Asda, are working together to improve the convenience of vital breast screening, with ASDA offering many of their car parks as locations for breast screening vans in England. Breast screening is a key tool for detecting breast cancer early, as critically, the sooner the disease is diagnosed, the more likely treatment is to be successful. As such, we welcome this important initiative which will help improve people’s awareness of breast screening and could provide this vital service in new areas of the community.”
Dr Nisha Sharma, Director of Breast Screening and Clinical Lead for breast imaging at Leeds Teaching Hospital NHS Trust, said:
“Breast Screening is a vital tool in detecting cancers at an earlier stage, which can make all the difference, and we’re so pleased to have this local Breast Screening mobile unit in Morley Asda car park available, providing a convenient and accessible option to so many women.”
Jo Warner, Senior Director Corporate Responsibility and ESG/Asda Spokesperson, said:
"With breast screening attendance declining in recent years, we knew we could do something practical to help. Opening up space in our car parks to host mobile screening units felt like a natural extension to three decades of fundraising and breast cancer awareness raising efforts – and our hope is it will help to improve visibility and convenience of screening and ultimately drive earlier diagnosis and better outcomes for those affected by breast cancer.”
Jeanette Lane, who works on the kiosk at Asda Dagenham, knows all too well how important it is to attend routine breast screening. Following her mammogram in March 2018, the results found invasive breast cancer in one breast and non-invasive breast cancer in the other breast. Following numerous biopsies, it was confirmed Jeanette had invasive lobular breast cancer. Jeanette then had biopsies on her lymph nodes in July, and in August 2018, Jeanette had a double mastectomy with immediate first stages of reconstruction, followed by radiotherapy. She then went on to have full reconstruction surgery in 2019.
"The one thing I would say to everyone is to keep checking yourself regularly, and don’t miss any routine mammograms. If I hadn’t attended my mammogram appointment, I would never have known about my breast cancer.”
Following years of declining breast screening attendance in England, this availability of alternative mobile screening unit locations comes as Breast Cancer Now’s #NoTimeToWaste campaign calls on the government to urgently invest in the NHS Breast Screening Programme, to guarantee its accessibility to all eligible women, and ensure it has enough staff and resources to offer the care women deserve, now and in decades to come.
That is why Breast Cancer Now is calling on the government to deliver a sustained national media awareness campaign promoting the importance and availability of breast screening in England, focused especially in areas and communities where uptake is lowest.
Notes to Editors
There are currently Asda Breast Screening Mobile Units situated in Brierley Hill, Morley and St Austell in England, and Toryglen in Scotland.
About Asda Stores Ltd:
Founded in the 1960s in Yorkshire, Asda is one of Britain’s leading retailers. It has more than 165,000 dedicated Asda colleagues serving customers across 606 stores, including 33 Supercentres, 336 Superstores, 33 Asda Living stores, 204 Supermarkets, and we’ve 26 depots and 18 Stand Alone Petrol stations. Its main office is in Leeds, Yorkshire and its George clothing division is in Lutterworth, Leicestershire. More than 17 million people shop at Asda stores every week and 98 per cent of UK homes are served by www.ASDA.com. Asda joined Walmart, the world’s number one retailer, in 1999.
About Asda Tickled Pink:
The Asda Tickled Pink campaign is the longest running UK corporate partnership and, over the past 27 years, has raised over £82 million, delivering incredible impact for people affected by breast cancer trough fundraising for world-class research and life-changing support, as well as raising vital breast checking awareness. Working with their charity partners, Breast Cancer Now and CoppaFeel!, Asda are on a mission to make checking your breasts, pecs and chests, whoever you are, as normal as your Asda shop. Asda have offered the NHS 280 potential locations UK wide, 211 of them located in England, 45 in Scotland 12 in Wales and 13 in Northern Ireland.
About Breast Cancer Now:
If you’re experiencing breast cancer we’re here, whenever you need us. Be it through our support services, trusted breast cancer information or our specialist nurses who you can reach via our free Helpline and 24/7 Online Forum.
Backed by dedicated campaigners, we’re fighting for the best possible treatment, services, and care, for anyone affected by breast cancer. And support from our amazing fundraisers helps ensure our life-saving research and life-changing support can happen.
If you’re worried about breast cancer or have a question about breast health, we’re here to support you every step of the way. Speak to our expert nurses now by calling our free Helpline on 0808 800 6000 or visit forum.breastcancernow.org.