More women taking up free breast screening
Latest figures show that 71 per cent of New Zealand women are taking advantage of the free breast screening programme available to those aged 45 to 69 through BreastScreen Aotearoa.
The Breast Cancer Aotearoa Coalition (BCAC) is particularly pleased to see that screening rates for Māori and Pasifika women appear to be on the rise.
Latest figures from BreastScreen Aotearoa show that in the two years to March 31, 2012:
- 71 per cent of all women aged 45 to 69 had a free mammogram
- More than 69 per cent of Pasifika women aged 45 to 69 had a free mammogram
- More than 62 per cent of Māori women aged 45 to 69 had a free mammogram.
BCAC chair, Libby Burgess, says it’s vital that women have regular mammograms. “We know that mammograms save lives. A mammogram increases the chance of catching breast cancer early, which means treatment can begin sooner and is more likely to be successful.
“We encourage all women to be breast aware and visit their doctor if they notice a lump, discharge, rash or other unusual symptom. We recommend regular mammograms from 40 years, and participation in the free screening programme available from 45 to 69 years, so we’re thrilled to see that BreastScreen Aotearoa is getting more and more women on board using the free service.”
Ms Burgess also says the increased use of mobile screening units appears to be successful in reaching rural and Māori communities.
“We know that Māori women are far more likely to die from breast cancer than European or Pasifika women, so it’s great to see that more Māori women are choosing to be screened. We hope this will ultimately mean that fewer Māori women die from this terrible disease.”
She says BCAC congratulated BreastScreen Aotearoa on its success at a recent meeting and agreed to continue the close collaboration between the two organisations.
BCAC is also pleased that all screening providers will be required to provide digital mammography by the end of 2013.