Calls for Parliament to join forces to expand breast screening programme

By Stefan Dimitrof

The Breast Cancer Foundation has called for all political parties to support National's newly announced policy to extend free breast cancer screening for wāhine by another five years.

In New Zealand, women aged 45 to 69 receive free mammograms every two years.

Mammograms are a crucial tool to ensure early detection of breast cancer, especially for Māori and Pasifika women who have a lower survival rate.

Breast Cancer Foundation NZ chief executive Ah-leen Rayner estimates that up to 65 lives a year could be saved with the implementation of the National policy.

“The Ministry of Health also said that by extending the screening age, it could reduce deaths by a third, which is very significant.”

Rayner said that if the age screening isn’t increased, New Zealand will fall behind international best practice guidelines.

“If we could roll out the age extension from this day onward, then that would be a win for women of New Zealand”.