Sabina Higgins, the wife of President of Ireland Michael D. Higgins, underwent a successful procedure yesterday, November 8, as part of ongoing breast cancer treatment, Áras an Uachtaráin confirmed today, November 9.

Sabina Higgins, 82, said in a statement on Thursday: “I would like to express my sincere thanks to the doctors and medical staff who are providing me with such expert care in my treatment. 

“I would like to take the opportunity of my diagnosis to call on all women to be aware of the symptoms of breast cancer and to seek checks as regularly as they can.

"It may come as a surprise to many people to learn that the risk of breast cancer increases with age and that 36% of women diagnosed with breast cancer in Ireland are over the age of 70. 

“While BreastCheck screening runs for women up to the age of 69, I would urge all women over the age of 70 of the vital importance of continuing to look for any potential symptoms of breast cancer on a regular basis and to seek medical checks whenever possible.”

Áras an Uachtaráin can confirm that Sabina Higgins yesterday underwent a successful procedure as part of ongoing treatment which she is receiving for breast cancer.

— President of Ireland (@PresidentIRL) November 9, 2023

Ireland's Health Service Executive (HSE) says that if you are aged 50 to 69, you'll be offered breast screening every two years. However, due to COVID-19, invitations for screening have been delayed by up to one year.

Your first invitation will depend on when screening is available in your area. This is normally within two years of your 50th birthday. Due to COVID-19, you may be 53 when you get your first invitation.

Your details should automatically be on the HSE register. If you did not get a letter, check your name is on the breast screening register, or call the Freephone number on 1800 45 45 55.

Breast screenings take place at a BreastCheck clinic or mobile screening unit. Results are sent in a letter within three weeks of a mammogram.

In most cases, results are normal and no cancer is found, the HSE says.

Breast screening does not find all breast cancer, the HSE notes. However, screening has been proven to lower the number of women dying from breast cancer.

The HSE says that if you are not between 50 and 69 years of age, you are not eligible for breast screening. Contact your GP if you're worried about any symptoms you may have.