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Breast Care - The power of pink

The INMO Pink Power breast health campaign was a major success, raising breast cancer awareness among thousands of members nationwide

In June 2012, the INMO Pink Power campaign was officially launched at the Organisation’s head office in Dublin. Nobody could have predicted just how successful this ground breaking initiative would be. Rolled out by the INMO, in partnership with Cornmarket Group Financial Services Ltd, Irish Life and the Mater Private Hospital, it was developed to highlight breast health awareness and the importance of early cancer detection.

The campaign’s results have certainly surpassed everyone’s expectations. No less than 53% of all nurses and midwives who were sent a Pink Power invitation by Cornmarket returned the risk assessment form. A total of 3,036 breast checks and education sessions were completed, and 399 follow-up examinations were required (in the form of mammograms, ultrasounds and biopsies). See Table 1.

Results of Pink Power assessments
Location Invites
Risk assessment
forms received
Dublin 2,282 1,141 (50%) 1,008 (44%) 207 (21%)
Cork, Bantry 819 415 (51%) 369 (45%) 15 (4%)
Cavan, Drogheda 389 214 (55%) 208 (54%) 13 (6%)
Galway, Castlebar 633 319 (50%) 275 (43%) 17 (6%)
Tullamore, Kilkenny, Waterford 952 496 (52%) 441 (46%) 62 (14%)
Limerick, Tralee 774 428 (55%) 381 (49%) 40 (11%)
Sligo, Letterkenny 555 287 (52%) 253 (46%) n/a*
Fast track - 141 101 45 (45%)
Total 6,404 3,441 (54%) 3,036 (47%) 399 (13%)
*Figure was not known at the time of this article going to print

Rising level of cancer claims
The 2012 review of the INMO Income Protection Scheme highlighted a worryingly high level of cancer claims among nurses and midwives. Furthermore, breast cancer accounted for 50% of these claims. Breast cancer is the most common cancer and the second leading cause of death among women in Ireland.

The INMO and Cornmarket knew that action was needed, and the seeds of Pink Power were sown.

The national breast screening programme, BreastCheck, invites women aged from 50 to 64 years for a free mammogram every two years. However, breast cancer can occur in women under 50 and the INMO and Cornmarket both believe that women under 50 should also have access to a breast health assessment in order to promote early detection.

It was hoped that through the powerful initiative, the first of its kind in the trade union movement, the assessments would encourage regular checking and help save lives by promoting breast health awareness.

Pink Power was exclusive to members of the INMO Income Protection Scheme, and carried out by the Mater Private Specialist Breast Centre.

Roll out of the campaign
The aim of Pink Power was to make a breast health assessment available to all INMO Income Protection Scheme members under age 50, within their geographical location. The appointment consisted of a straightforward clinical assessment and breast health education session with a clinical physician.

Women who required further investigation (eg. mammogram or ultrasound) were referred to the Mater Private Hospital at no extra expense.

A nationwide roadshow, encompassing 19 locations, was set up and rolled out between July 2012 and April 2013. The response from members surpassed all expectations, with each location receiving over 50% response rate in the form of returned risk assessment forms. An astounding 3,036 INMO members participated in the initiative.

Pictured at the launch of Pink Power (l-r): Liam Doran, INMO general secretary; Roddy Murphy, managing director of Cornmarket; Dr Fidelma Flanagan, consultant radiologist at the Mater Private Hospital and clinical director of BreastCheck; Roisín Kelly, senior risk operations manager at Irish Life; and Claire Mahon, INMO president

Overwhelmingly positive feedback
From start to finish, Cornmarket received encouraging support and feedback from Pink Power attendees and directors of nursing nationwide. The positive impact of the initiative continues to resonate throughout the INMO and beyond.

Cornmarket conducted a survey* of Pink Power participants, which found that:

  • 78% of members had not received a comprehensive breast health assessment before attending Pink Power
  • 93% of Pink Power attendees felt that it lived up to their expectations
  • 44% members did not self-check before Pink Power
  • 25% of members self-checked before Pink Power but did not know what to do and what to look for
  • When asked to rate Pink Power as an overall initiative 68% rated it as ‘excellent’ and 28% said it was ‘very good’.

Positive comments
Just some of the comments received by Pink Power attendees included:

  • “Fabulous programme. Keep it up. I am assuming by the huge uptake of the programme it shows the huge importance and success of same. Really need it even to create an awareness and the prime age category for breast cancer occurrence”
  • “Pink power breast screening was a fantastic service and I am very grateful to have been offered it. It was so beneficial to me and it has really put my mind at rest. Thank you for providing this screening”
  • “When working full-time, married with a family, my own health checks are way down on the list of priorities. Pink Power highlights the importance of health checks”
  • “From the people making the booking right through to the examiner the care and attention was excellent”
  • “Thanks for an excellent service and promoting awareness of the importance of breast check amongst health professionals. We are busy looking after others and sometimes neglect our own health!”
  • “Brilliant initiative I needed further assessment and was seen within two weeks by a consultant breast surgeon. Well done on a great service”
  • “Great opportunity to avail of breast check. Convenient as located in workplace”
  • “I would consider myself as low-risk and this was sort of confirmed by the appointment, but it is still important to have had the assessment and it has heightened my awareness”
  • “Was aware of a lump over years and had never been considered for screening. Pink Power was efficient and direct. They allayed my fears and thankfully all is well”
  • “I’m 29 and for younger women, it can be hard, apart from a GP, to get a breast check. It encourages younger women to check earlier for signs of breast cancer instead of waiting for a mammogram at the age of 60 or 65”
  • “Prevention is better than cure. Occurs at every age and is very treatable when caught early”
  • “I feel it is worthwhile as when I am doing my own checks I may not be doing it right and pick up on something, and breast cancer is so common nowadays.”

Blue Power
In conjunction with Pink Power, the INMO also launched its Blue Power campaign, which aimed to make a prostate and testicular assessment available to all of its male Income Protection Scheme members.

Blue Power was different from Pink Power – appointments were only set if deemed necessary by the prostate care nurse or physician after reviewing each individual risk assessment form. See Table 2 for campaign statistics.

Results of Blue Power assessments
Invites Risk assessment forms received Assessments attended
435 52 20

Cornmarket Group Financial Services Ltd. is regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland. A member of the Irish Life Group Ltd. Irish Life Assurance plc is regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland. Telephone calls may be recorded for quality control and training purposes.

* The survey was carried out by Cornmarket and based on a sample of 483 women, www.surveymonkey.ie 25/03/2013

Breast Cancer - The power of pink


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