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Campaign Encourages Women To Have Mammograms


Media Release

20 September 2002

New breast screening campaign aims to encourage women aged 50-64 to have regular mammograms

A new campaign aimed at encouraging women aged 50-64 to have free mammograms (breast x-ray) with BreastScreen Aotearoa every two years starts this weekend.

The campaign will use television and magazine advertising to remind eligible women that early detection through regular mammograms offers the best chance of successful treatment.

National Screening Unit spokesperson Sally Hughes says the advertising also aims to encourage family and friends to support eligible women to access regular mammograms.

"For many women in the eligible age range thinking of the health of family and friends comes before thoughts of their own well-being. One of the aims of this campaign will be to remind people for whom women in the 50-64 age range are their mothers, sisters, friends and grandmothers that their encouragement can be an important factor in their loved ones choosing to have a mammogram.

"There are a number of factors that are commonly cited as reasons why some women do not have screening including a fear that mammograms are painful, shyness about the procedure and the time it takes to have a mammogram.

"Over coming months the campaign will seek to address these fears by presenting a range of women from different backgrounds who have had mammograms and who talk about both their anxieties and then the realities of their experience," Ms Hughes says.

New Zealand women have shown strong support for BreastScreen Aotearoa since it began in December 1998. In the two years to July 2002 more than 58 per cent of eligible women have had mammograms through BreastScreen Aotearoa. During the same period 1184 cancers have been detected through the programme.

"The challenge now is to ensure that those women in the eligible range who have not yet begun to have regular mammograms are aware of the programme and the facts about mammography. The campaign will also focus on increasing participation among Maori and Pacific women.

"We're also keen to ensure that those eligible women who use private screening programmes are aware that mammograms with BreastScreen Aotearoa are free."

Women aged 50-64 (inclusive) are encouraged to ring the BreastScreen Aotearoa free phone line - 0800 270 200 ? for further information about the programme or to enrol for a mammogram.

For more information contact: Kallon Basham, Ph (04) 496 2385, or mob (025) 897 521

The TV commercials of the new campaign can be viewed at www.breastscreen.org.nz from noon today

ENDS

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