In New Zealand, eight women are diagnosed with breast cancer a day. She could be your colleague, mother, sister, daughter, niece, cousin or friend. We encourage you to THINK PINK by taking advantage of our breast screening services and getting your breasts checked.
The Breast Cancer Foundation states that about 3,000 women are diagnosed and 600 die from it every year. Yet, 30% of eligible women aren’t enrolled in free screening and 60% of young women don’t know the signs beyond a lump. Men can also get breast cancer and about 20 a year are diagnosed.
5 breast cancer signs you don’t know
Almost everyone knows that a lump can be a sign of breast cancer, but research shows few New Zealand women are aware of the other signs and symptoms.
We want you to be aware of all the signs, and to report any changes to your doctor:
- changes in the skin of the breast, including dimpling, puckering or redness
- a change in breast shape or size
- unusual breast pain
- changes in the nipple, e.g. a turned-in nipple
- a nipple discharge
Breast screening support
The Fono West offers breast screening support which includes transport and education support for Pacific women to attend their Waitemata DHB mammogram or assessment. Access to the service is by self-referral or by GP / Doctor referral.
The risk of being diagnosed with breast cancer increases with age. Women who reside in the Waitemata district aged 45-69 years who have not had a mammogram within the previous 24 months and are free from breast cancer are eligible for the free service. If previously diagnosed with breast cancer then criterion is at least 5 years since diagnosis.
What is breast screening?
- Breast screening is when a mammogram (breast x-ray) is performed on women with no obvious breast changes
- Breast screening can find cancer early and that means you have a better chance of beating it
- It can pick up tiny cancers that can’t be felt
- You need to have breast screening every two years as breast cancers can grow in that time and you want to find them while they are still small
- Screening mammograms cannot prevent development of breast cancer, but they do reduce the chance of dying from breast cancer by approximately a third.