New figures show nearly 40,000 more women aged 50 to 69 have taken part in the Government’s free breast cancer screening programme in the 24 months to October 2011 than in the previous two years.
In the 24 months to October 2011, a total of 344,268 women had breast screening as part of BreastScreen Aotearoa, compared with 305,839 women in the 24 months to October 2009.
Associate Health Minister Jo Goodhew says, "Within the overall increase, the percentage of Maori women and Pacific women taking part on the programme has had the greatest increase. Those numbers increased by 5138 Maori and 3038 Pacific in that time period.
“Maori and Pacific women are less likely to have breast screening, so it is very encouraging to see figures for these groups increasing.”
The aim of breast screening is to find very small cancers before a lump can be found in the breast.
Mrs Goodhew says, "Breast cancer is the most common cancer in New Zealand women and early treatment has the best chance of success. That’s why regular breast screening is so important.”
Free breast screening for women aged 45 to 69 years is provided through BreastScreen Aotearoa.
Three new television commercials begin this weekend as part of the public awareness campaign.
For further information about breast screening, or to make an appointment, women can ring freephone 0800 270 200 or 0508 THE GIRLS, or see the website www.nsu.govt.nz