April 19, 2006

‘Longest’ bra chain goes up in Cyprus April 30

NICOSIA - Women on the Mediterranean island of Cyprus say they are poised to create the worlds longest chain of up to 100,000 bras to heighten breast cancer awareness on April 30.

A group of Dutch, British and Cypriot organizers plan to create a 90 km-long chain (55.9 mile) string of brassieres they hope will put them in the Guinness Book of Records.

Singapore presently holds the record for the longest chain of 79,000 bras.

"Creating a chain of bras is an odd thing to do, but its the perfect way to get the message across. Its important that people are aware of the risks, and the need for regular screening," said Louise van Rooij, a Dutch resident of Cyprus.

Women as far afield as Alaska have contributed bras, while one of the offerings also came from Betty Boothroyd, Britain's first female speaker of the House of Commons and a regular visitor to the holiday island.

organizers are also building up a database which will send out alerts to women in high-risk groups and schedule online screenings.

Breast cancer kills about 400,000 women worldwide each year. Doctors say regular screening, particularly for women over 50, is vital for early detection crucial to survival rates.

"We have a fairly good response rate (to screening) of about 70 percent, but it could be higher," said Vassilis Tanos, an oncologist. Negligence on the part of the individual was an overriding factor on why response levels were not better, he said.