#GIveUsOurMammograms: Message to government to save lives from breast cancer

By Mana Wikaire-Lewis

Wāhine Māori have one of the highest rates of breast cancer in the world but the number of women getting their mammograms with Aotearoa's breast screening programme has dropped by 64 per cent - the lowest figure in 10 years due in large part to lockdowns.

With Māori wāhine screenings down to 57%, more than 50,000 women are overdue for mammograms, leaving potentially 300 Kiwi women at risk of having undiagnosed and untreated breast cancer. 

Breast Cancer Foundation research and strategic programmes manager Adele Gautier spoke with teaomāori.news, launching a new programme: #GiveUsOurMammograms to encourage more women to get a screening.

“We’re using this to ask the government to invest significantly, right now, to do that catchup of breast screening fast.

“We have a website called Give Us Our Mammograms. We’re asking people to go on there, download a poster of a mammogram image, with instructions on how to take a photo of yourself holding that poster.”

All of the photos will be sent to the government and ministers involved.

“We think it’s about time wāhine everywhere have their voice heard on this because this is how we save lives from breast cancer.”

Gautier says having 300 Kiwi women at risk of undiagnosed or untreated breast cancer is “real and scary”.

“To think that that’s going to be the situation, and it’s not going to be resolved anytime soon. We know that when people have been diagnosed late, they have a much lower chance of surviving and they have more toxic treatment. Nobody wants to go through chemo and some of those are really necessary but horrible treatments. Finding it early is the way to minimise treatment and save lives."