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Statement On Breast Self-Examination

For immediate release

Statement On Breast Self-Examination

The debate over breast self-examination should be put into perspective, says The New Zealand Breast Cancer Foundation.

Dr Ronald Kay, a member of the Foundation's medical advisory committee, says self-examination alone is not an effective method of reducing breast cancer mortality, but the Foundation believes it would be a disservice to women to abandon the procedure entirely.

"Mammography is definitely the most effective method for early detection, and this is supported by the recent and important results from Sweden, which reported that breast screening programmes reduced mortality rates by up to 63 per cent."

The Foundation has long advocated a three-step plan for the early detection of breast cancer - in order of priority - regular age-appropriate mammograms, clinical examinations by a health professional, and, for those women comfortable with the procedure, self-examination.

This is in line with the recommendations of the American Cancer Society and the National Cancer Institute in the United States.

"At the very least self-examination lifts women's awareness of breast health, and by association, the need for regular checks by a health professional and age appropriate mammography," says Dr Kay.

ends 28 June, 2001

For further information contact Dr Ron Kay Tel 09 575 5110

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