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Breast cancer rates in Maori and Pacific women

GP’s concerned about the high breast cancer rates in Maori and Pacific women

“GP’s are concerned about the high breast cancer rates in Maori and Pacific women as evidenced on a breast cancer register in Auckland,” says Christchurch GP and Pegasus Health Clinical Leader of Community Health, Dr Kim Burgess.

“Maori women also tend to have more advanced cancers when they are found, and this could be improved by more of them becoming involved in screening earlier.

“The fact that only 165 of the 500 women from the Auckland register, who were over 50 and eligible for a free mammogram, had taken this opportunity is a concern.

“Screening rates in Christchurch in general are above that of Auckland, but the rates
for Maori and Pacific women are still less than the rates for other women in Christchurch.” says Dr Burgess.

“The death of any woman from this disease is a tragedy, for their families and the community, it is even more so if a death could have been prevented by early detection. The fact that more Maori and Polynesian women are represented in the breast cancer mortality rates further adds weight to improved awareness for these and other women to work with their GP and get checked”.

Recently Pegasus has been working with local Maori to raise the awareness of the issue. Coincidently Manager of Maori Health Wendy Dallas-Katoa turned 50 in August and lined up to have her free mammogram.

“I must admit I was kind of dreading having my mammogram but the process was actually really good. As I get older and with my work in the health system I realise that there are not many Maori who live beyond the age of 70. This is due to high death rates in many diseases that if detected early can be controlled, such as breast cancer”

“Put quite simply I want to be around for my moko (grandkids)” says Wendy

Photo enclosed, Caption: Wendy Dallas-Katoa turned 50 and had her free mammogram recently, with Wendys moko Ngahiraka Dallas and Tau Hine te Ao.


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