PM Urges Women To Use New Breast Screening Service

  • Jenny Shipley
Prime Minister

"Breast screening can save lives," Prime Minister Jenny Shipley said today at the launch of the national screening programme, BreastScreen Aotearoa.

The Prime Minister urged New Zealand women in the at-risk age groups to ensure they have a mammogram regularly.

"This is a dream come true, to see a comprehensive breast screening programme available.

"We first decided to go ahead with this programme when I was Minister of Health three years ago. It has taken time to ensure the screening programme is high quality and properly implemented. I would have preferred it to be in place sooner but it's been worth the wait to see it done

"We know that nearly 10 per cent of women in New Zealand develop breast cancer, and the risk increases with age, but that if it's detected early then the chances of successful treatment are much higher.

"The Government recognises the importance of saving lives by detecting breast cancer early and is providing funding through the Health Funding Authority for the national screening programme.

"Many women treat their own health as a low priority, always putting their families first. But breast screening is a relatively simple procedure with very worthwhile outcomes and I would urge women between the ages of 50 and 64 to take advantage of this new free service.

"Women will be able to call a national free phone line (0800 270 200) to make an appointment, or they can arrange a screening through their GP.

"This programme, together with the national cervical screening programme, confirm that women's health is a major and on-going priority for the Government," Mrs Shipley concluded.