Local councillor Jayne Dunlop has hailed breast cancer screening services, saying they helped save her life.
Councillor Dunlop was diagnosed with breast cancer in January, following a routine screening.
Following her diagnosis, Jayne had a lumpectomy in February, followed by chemotherapy and is currently going through a course of radiotherapy.
And now, as part of Breast Cancer Awareness month, she is calling on women to be more breast aware and to avail of breast screening services.
Speaking to the Ballymena Times, Jayne says she chose to speak out about her journey from diagnosis to treatment and recovery, to try and raise awareness.
At present, screening is available for women aged between 50 and 70, who are invited for screening every three years.
The Alliance councillor was called for a routine mammogram, after she turned 50, but has always been conscious of being breast aware because of her family history as her mother had breast cancer.
“It was always at the back of my mind that it could happen,” Jayne said.
She added: “At the end of January I was given the diagnosis, which I have to say was a huge shock.
“I didn’t think it was going to happen to me and I hoped that I was going to avoid it so it actually was a huge shock.”
Jayne had high praise for the screening services provided in Northern Ireland, both those provided through the NHS and by Action Cancer.
“Whatever age you are, whether you’re 20 or 30, it’s important to keep on top of this,” Jayne said.
She added: “Action Cancer have a mobile unit and when you’re 40 you can use that.
“I didn’t know about that and I’ve I’d have known I would have gone more regularly to be checked because the earlier you can detect breast cancer, the better, the quicker the intervention, and the less severe the treatment.”
* Watch our video to hear more about Jayne’s story.