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The Voice Of Survivors

The Voice Of Survivors

The sooner breast cancer is discovered and treated, the higher the chance of survival and the lower the chance that invasive surgery will be needed, says The New Zealand Breast Cancer Foundation.

Dr Belinda Scott, Breast Surgeon and chair of the Foundation's Medical Advisory Committee, says it is vital to get across the importance of early detection.

"Early detection through breast screening, clinical breast examinations and regular mammograms, age appropriate, mean that most women who are diagnosed with breast cancer are able to do something about it in a timely manner," she says. "If a cancer is detected when it is less than one centimetre in size, you have a 90 per cent chance of being alive 10 years later. On the other hand, if you wait till you can feel a lump in your breast the cancer is likely to be at least two centimetres in size. This means there is a greater risk that cancer may spread beyond the breast."

Each year more than 2000 New Zealand women are diagnosed with breast cancer. This October's Breast Cancer Awareness Month campaign focuses on the survivors and emphasises the fact that early detection is your best protection against breast cancer.

Rosie Horton, president of the Foundation, says that while in New Zealand breast cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in women, it is reassuring to note that in most cases, women survive.

"This year we are focusing our campaign on the survivors and celebrating their success in triumphing over breast cancer," says Rosie Horton. "Through highlighting this, we hope to encourage and inspire other New Zealand women "

The Foundation's new television commercial features breast cancer survivor Marcia Fraser in a Ferrari-red racing suit being driven around Maramarua Forest in a rally car at speeds up to 180kph. The commercial begins screening on Tuesday October 1 during the One News slot at 6pm

The international Global Illuminations campaign will launch Breast Cancer Awareness Month on October 1, with iconic monuments in over 40 countries around the globe being bathed in pink light. New Zealand's official representative, Auckland's Sky Tower will be the first icon to be lit pink as part of the worldwide show of support for breast cancer awareness. It will be followed by an impressive collection of famous icons, including the Graceland Mansion in Memphis, the Leaning Tower of Pisa in Italy, Niagara Falls in Canada and Table Mountain in Cape Town.

Other New Zealand landmarks will also be showing their support in pink, including the City Lights in Rotorua's main square, the Michael Fowler Centre in Wellington, Dunedin's Town Hall, Sky Riverside in Hamilton and Invercargill's Civic Theatre. In Christchurch, the Wizard of New Zealand will dress in pink robes on October 2 and 3 in support of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Sky City has been instrumental in organising the national roll-out of the Global Illuminations campaign.

Later in the month, the Foundation's third annual Pink Ribbon street appeal will be held on Thursday 10 October in the South Island and on Friday 11 October in the North Island. On these days collectors will be on the streets in the main centres selling Pink Ribbons - the international symbol of breast cancer awareness.

Pink Ribbons will also be available throughout October from all ASB BANK branches Bowls NZ, Pak 'n Save, New World, Four Square, H & J Smith Ltd, J Ballantyne & Co, Kirkcaldie & Stains Ltd, New Zealand Drycleaners, Foodtown, Smith & Caughey Limited, Stagecoach New Zealand, The Warehouse Ltd, Unichem Pharmacy Group, Whitcoulls and Women's Golf NZ.

Funds raised from the 2002 Breast Cancer Awareness campaign will go towards holding nationwide public workshops on breast cancer and breast health education, and the Foundation's breast cancer research fund. This fund, known as The ASB New Zealand Breast Cancer Foundation Research Fund, was launched in 2001 and offers grants to New Zealand-based breast cancer research programmes. Canterbury's Associate Professor Bridget Robinson was announced as the first recipient of a grant earlier this year. Her research investigates the growth of lymph vessels and how breast cancer tumours commandeer the blood and lymph supply to grow and spread throughout the body.

Sponsors of the 2002 campaign are ASB BANK (principal sponsor), ACP Media, Bendon, Estée Lauder, Giltrap Prestige, Healtheries, Newstalk ZB, Next Magazine, Sky City Auckland, TelstraClear, Total Media and Soar & Impex Printing.

For further information on the Foundation, please visit or phone TelstraClear tollfree, 0800 902 732. For further information on breast health, please visit your family doctor.

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