News Video | Policy | GPs | Hospitals | Medical | Mental Health | Welfare | Search


Interactive tool to help older women decide on mammograms

April 8, 2014

New interactive tool “Screen70+” helps older women decide whether or not to have mammograms

The NZ Breast Cancer Foundation today launched Screen70+, an interactive online decision aid to help women over 70 – and their GPS – decide if they should continue with screening mammograms.

Screen70+ is based on the work of Dr Mara Schonberg at Harvard Medical School. It looks at a woman’s overall health and life expectancy, along with breast cancer risk and the pluses and minuses of screening.

“Our research shows that 90% of women don’t realise their breast cancer risk is higher in their seventies than it was in their fifties,” said NZ Breast Cancer Foundation chief executive Van Henderson.

Free screening with BreastScreen Aotearoa stops at age 69. In Australia, free mammogram screening was extended to age 74 last year, and in the UK, a large-scale trial of breast screening to age 73 is underway. The UK Public Health Office recently launched a “Don’t assume you’re past it” campaign aimed at women over 70.

“We’re getting more calls to our advice line from older women wondering whether they should be continuing with mammograms,” Van Henderson said. “We think it’s an important conversation to be having.”

Historically, arguments against screening older women have been based on the likelihood of other medical conditions being more likely than breast cancer to contribute to mortality. But a New Zealand woman aged 70 in 2014 is likely to live to 89, twenty years after her last free mammogram, and people increasingly expect to say fit and active for longer. 70% of the women surveyed for the NZBCF by Colmar Brunton rated their health as good or excellent.

The NZBCF wants women to be aware of their breast cancer risk as they age, to be aware of all the potential symptoms of breast cancer, and to continue with mammograms while they’re in good health.

“Not everyone wants to continue with screening, and that’s very much an individual woman’s choice,” said Van Henderson. “But we need to know our risk, and make an informed decision. If you’re in good health, then that decision might be the same one you made in your fifties. So many older women lead active lives, playing a vital role in their family and their community, we want them taking good care of themselves.”

The Screen70+ online decision aid is available at

The New Zealand Breast Cancer Foundation is a not-for-profit organisation that depends on individual donations, community fundraising, grants from trusts and foundations and partnerships with business for its work in breast cancer education and awareness, medical research and training grants, advocacy, and supporting women with breast cancer. The NZBCF’s programmes are evidence-based, overseen by its medical advisory committee. The pink ribbon symbol is a trademark of the NZBCF in New Zealand.


© Scoop Media

Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines


Scoop Review Of Books: Worldly And Unworldly

"Being Magdalene" by Fleur Beale The situations shown in this youth novel are shocking, scary, and very moving as we experience Magdalene’s struggle to be a perfect girl as defined by the cruel and unreasonable leader of “The Children of the Faith”, as she moves reluctantly into young womanhood. More>>

Whistle Stop: Netball NZ To Implement New INF Rules

Netball New Zealand (NNZ) will implement the new Official Rules of Netball, as set down by the International Netball Federation (INF), from January 1, 2016. Key changes include the elimination of whistle following a goal, amendments to injury time and changes to setting a penalty. More>>


Scoop Review Of Books: Waiata Aroha

Vaughan Rapatahana on Chappy by Patricia Grace: With this eminently readable novel Patricia Grace returns to the full-length fiction stage after a hiatus of ten years. More>>

'Ithaca' At Q Theatre: Introducing NZ's World Class Cirque Troupe

NZ’s very own cirque troupe is set to become a household name with the premier of its adaptation of Homer’s Odyssey having secured a key season in Auckland. More>>

Music Awards: The Tuis Are Broody This Year

Topping off a sensationally eventful year both at home and internationally, Nelson born brother-sister duo Broods has taken home four Tuis from this year’s 50th annual Vodafone New Zealand Music Awards. More>>


Sport: Richie McCaw Retires From Rugby

Richie McCaw has today confirmed he is hanging up his boots and retiring from professional rugby. The 34-year-old All Blacks captain and most capped All Black of all time has drawn the curtain on his stunning international career which started in Dublin 14 years ago, almost to the day, and ended in London last month when he hoisted the Webb Ellis Cup aloft for the second time. More>>


John McBeth: On Jonah Lomu

For many New Zealanders, the enormity of Jonah Lomu's reputation will have come as a surprise... His deeds were watched and enthused over by movie stars and musicians, politicians and superstars from other codes. He reached into the lives and homes of millions and mixed with famous people most New Zealanders would only have read about. More>>


Get More From Scoop



Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news