A bright pink bus will be out and about in Manchester raising awareness of breast cancer and encouraging residents in the city to get screened.
The BooBee bus tour, organised by Prevent Breast Cancer, will be visiting the areas of the city which have the lowest breast screening rates. It comes as statistics have shown that Manchester as a whole is significantly below the national average for breast cancer screening, with only 53.2% of Mancunians getting a check in 2021 compared to the figure of 63.4% for the country as a whole.
The bright pink vehicle is hitting the road to have conversations with people about the importance of breast cancer screening in the hope of increasing uptake. There will be opportunities to ask questions about what happens at a screening appointment and women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer will also be travelling with the bus to share their experiences.
When and where is the BooBee bus tour in Manchester?
The BooBee bus tour starts on Monday 7 November and lasts until Sunday 13 November. The bus will be at each location between 10am and 4pm. The full list of places being visited is:
Monday 7 November - the Asda supermarket at Eastlands,
Tuesday 8 November – Spinningfields,
Wednesday 9 November – the Wythenshawe Forum
Thursday 10 November – the Oldham Tesco supermarket on Featherstall Road,
Friday 11 November – Salford Gateway at The Broadwalk in Pendleton,
Saturday 12 November – the Asda store at Newton Heath,
Sunday 13 November – Manchester Fort in Cheetham Hill.
What is happening on the bus tour and why is it being held?
Organisers of the bus tour say it is vital that people get breast screening appointments. Across the UK more than 55,900 women are diagnosed with breast cancer each year and one in 10 instances of cancer are being diagnosed late.
The bright pink bus will be educating people on what happens at breast screenings and who should attend and promoting the importance of breast screening and self examination for women of all ages.
The roadtrip is being joined by 100 charity ambassadors, who are women who have been personally affected by breast cancer and who will travel with the bus to share their experiences and spread awareness of the devastating disease. The BooBees will also be accompanied by the team at Answer Cancer, Greater Manchester’s screening engagement programme, who will be on hand to answer any questions around breast screening.
The tour also aims to raise awareness among those living in deprived areas. Every year, 420 women in Greater Manchester die from breast cancer, and research has found that there is a strong link between deprivation and increased incidence of cancer. In Manchester, 60% of these breast cancer patients are from the most deprived groups.
The organisers of the bus tour say breast cancer screenings help to save roughly 1,300 lives a year by using X-rays to check breasts for signs of cancer. Early detection can potentially be life-saving and helps to increase the chance that treatment will be successful. Alongside screening, which is available every three years to all women in the UK between the ages of 50 and 70, all women are being encouraged to regularly check their breasts to understand what is normal for them and seek out advice if they notice anything unusual. They say this can be done while in the shower, while lying down on the bed, while getting dressed or even while blow-drying hair.
The bus tour is also being supported by Manchester Airport operator MAG which has helped to kit out the vehicle for its journey around the city and promoted it to its thousands of employees.
What has been said about the bus tour?
Lester Barr, founder of Prevent Breast Cancer, said: “We are dedicated to raising awareness of the importance of attending breast screenings across Greater Manchester. There are a multitude of reasons that women don’t attend their screening invitation, and we’re committed to addressing the issue by learning more and communicating effectively with women of all ages, ethnicities and backgrounds.
“We aim to proactively share information with different cultural and ethnic groups within different communities, whilst encouraging everyone to attend their screening invite and not only just check their breasts, but be aware of all the signs and symptoms, so that we are empowering each woman to know what’s normal for them, and cancer can be diagnosed as early as possible.
“As the only UK charity dedicated to the prediction and prevention of breast cancer, Prevent Breast Cancer is passionate about creating a future free from breast cancer.”