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Breast cancer prevention strategies a vital step

Press Release - Breast Cancer Network NZ Inc
24 January 2008

For Immediate Release

Breast cancer prevention strategies recommended by Health Select Committee a vital step forward for New Zealand women and future generations

Breast Cancer Network NZ is extremely pleased with the recommendations of Parliament’s Health Committee in its report on a petition from the organisation. The petition calls on the Government to develop a breast cancer strategy focused on risk reduction, and to recognise the role of synthetic environmental chemicals in breast cancer.

Committee Chair Sue Kedgley reported that the committee agreed on the need for research into breast cancer prevention, particularly in the area of endocrine disrupting chemicals, and that this research should be given high priority in the allocation of Government research funds. A majority of the committee called for the establishment of an expert advisory panel to initiate research into breast cancer prevention, particularly in the area of endocrine disruption.

Breast Cancer Network considers that an expert advisory panel of scientists, as recommended by a majority of the committee in the report, would be hugely beneficial in assessing the evidence linking endocrine-disrupting chemicals to breast cancer. The expert panel would recommend what people can do in their daily lives to minimise exposure to harmful chemicals. Such information would be welcomed by large numbers of New Zealand women. At the recent First National Conference for those who have experienced breast cancer, there was a high level of interest from delegates in gaining information about lifestyle and chemical impacts on breast cancer incidence.

The Health Committee also agreed that the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms (HSNO) Act 1996 and other regulations needed to be amended to require the inclusion of endocrine disrupting effects in the registration and reassessment of hazardous substances. Breast Cancer Network strongly supports this recommendation.

Breast Cancer Network comments that until now, government's attention and funding have been targeted largely at breast cancer diagnosis and treatments. This must continue as they are absolutely necessary to save women's lives. But it makes good sense to also work on the vital area of reducing the incidence of the disease. If adopted by Government, the Health Committee recommendations can make a major contribution to the prevention and understanding of breast cancer.

The effects of endocrine-disrupting chemicals are intergenerational. For the sake of this generation’s daughters and granddaughters Breast Cancer Network NZ strongly urges Government to take these recommendations forward.

Breast Cancer Network NZ Inc is an independent group of New Zealand women, most of whom have experienced breast cancer. We promote the issues and needs of those affected by breast cancer, advocate for improved treatment and care, and work towards the prevention of the disease for the benefit of the whole community. See for more about the Stop Cancer Where it Starts project.


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