16 Apr 2013

Early breast screening for Pacific women key to improving survival rates

6:28 am on 16 April 2013

The New Zealand Breast Cancer Foundation hopes the increase in Pacific women getting screened will improve survival rates.

Latest figures from the Breast Screen Aotearoa show Pacific women in New Zealand getting screened for breast cancer had the highest increase among all ethnicities aged between 45 and 69 years old.

The chief executive of the NZ Breast Cancer Foundation Van Henderson says since 2010, the numbers have increased from 64 to 72 per cent.

But Van Henderson says with the current five year survival rate, Pacific women have just a 79 per cent survival rate, compared to European women on 87 per cent.

"We need to do more work to understand why there is that difference. We have thought that it is because they are not going to screen earlier so their breast cancer is going to be of a larger tumor size than European women and now of course, with the increase in screening going up, we are very confident that the survival should also go up."

NZ Breast Cancer Foundation CEO, Van Henderson