Cancer checks for all women on cards

The government is looking into the possibility of introducing breast cancer screening for all females, the chief executive revealed yesterday.

Riley Chan

Friday, March 09, 2018

The government is looking into the possibility of introducing breast cancer screening for all females, the chief executive revealed yesterday.

Speaking on International Women's Day, Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor said "the government is collaborating with the medical sector and gathering more data to examine if a population-based screening program on breast cancer could be rolled out in the city."

Free breast cancer screening was among demands, along with more parental leave and child-care services, wanted to mark women's day.

Lam revealed the possible screenings when she officially opened the Hong Kong Breast Cancer Foundation's Jockey Club Breast Health Center at Ngau Chi Wan.

The center expects to provide check-ups to more than 30,000 women in three years' time, including free services to about 5,000 low-income women.

The center in Ngau Chi Wan is the second one-stop service center the foundation operates. The other is in North Point.

In the next three years, the foundation aims to reach 36,000 women.

Free screenings for low-income women was one of the 10 demands of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong's women affairs committee yesterday. It proposed that paternity leave should be extended to five days from three while mothers should get maternity leave on full pay.

Cervical cancer shots and breast cancer screenings should also be provided to women free, it said.

Secretary for Food and Health Sophia Chan Siu-chee said she had already started looking at some of the suggestions made by the group, but it would take time to give them full consideration.

About 30 members of the Neighbourhood and Worker's Service Center marched to the Central Government Offices yesterday to call for long-term child-care planning.

The group said there are only 738 aided child-care service places for the SAR's 80,000 children below the age of three.

This shortage increased the financial burden on mothers who could not go to work, the group said.

Community organizer Leung Ching-shan said women face a lot of pressures and financial burdens, but the government did little to help.

The call was echoed by the Hong Kong Women Workers' Association. About 10 members protested outside the CGO yesterday, decrying the lack of women-related policies in its latest budget.