Irish Examiner view: Harding's cancer death hammers home importance of early detection

Irish Examiner view: Harding's cancer death hammers home importance of early detection

Sarah Harding revealed her diagnosis last year.

Sarah Harding’s Girls Aloud bandmates led poignant tributes to the singer who died from breast cancer aged 39 on Sunday.

The tragedy of losing a woman so young was compounded by the circumstances of her death.

Earlier this year, the singer revealed her cancer diagnosis in an Instagram post and said she did not see her doctor earlier because she was worried about Covid-19. 

She was not alone in that, as the pandemic deterred many who may otherwise have had symptoms checked.

Screening at the HSE’s BreastCheck fell by two-thirds, which means that an estimated 600 fewer breast cancers were detected in 2020.

Sarah Harding’s death is indescribably sad but it has, at least, raised awareness of the need to focus on a disease that will affect one in nine Irish women at some stage in their lives, and about 40 men annually.

There have been renewed calls on women, of all ages, to check for symptoms of a cancer that can, if found early, be successfully treated. Early detection can save lives.

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