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

 


Lorraine Downes and mother spearhead breast cancer education

April 8 2014

Lorraine Downes and her mother spearhead breast cancer education for older women

“70 isn’t old – don’t stop having mammograms,” Lorraine Downes says

Former Miss Universe Lorraine Downes and her mother Glad are the faces of a new campaign from the NZ Breast Cancer Foundation, aiming to educate older women about their breast cancer risk and the importance of continued mammogram screening for healthy women as they age.

Glad Downes was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2012, aged 76. She had stopped having mammograms when she no longer qualified for free screening with BreastScreen Aotearoa, believing her age meant she was no longer at risk. She found a golf ball-size lump in her breast after reading a magazine article about Helena McAlpine having breast cancer.

“My sisters and I were shocked. Like mum, we thought because of her age, she was in a safe zone, and we didn’t realise women still got breast cancer in their seventies,” said Lorraine Downes, who is also fronting the NZBCF’s current Pink Ribbon Breakfast fundraising campaign for breast cancer research, in her role as an ambassador for the organisation.

Glad Downes underwent successful treatment for her cancer, including a mastectomy, chemotherapy and radiation. She is full of praise for the health system, but wants women her age to understand that their risk of breast cancer is higher now than it was in their fifties. Beyond being a woman, age is the highest risk factor for breast cancer.

Lorraine and Glad have made a video for the NZBCF, talking about Glad’s journey through breast cancer, and asking women to stay vigilant and to keep getting mammograms. The video,Breast Health for Older Women, can be viewed at www.nzbcf.org.nz/OlderWomen.

“Remember, you’re important to your family,” Lorraine Downes tells viewers. “Seventy isn’t old. Don’t stop having mammograms.”

Lorraine and Glad will also feature in printed education materials for older women.

NZBCF chief executive Van Henderson says the Foundation realised an education programme for older women was necessary after seeing Glad’s story and hearing from other women with similar experiences. The NZBCF commissioned Colmar Brunton to conduct research among women aged 70 and over, and discovered that 90% were unaware their breast cancer risk is higher in their seventies than in their fifties (see separate press release).

Cost ranked behind that lack of awareness as a major reason why women don’t continue with mammograms after 69. The NZBCF believes the cost of a private mammogram – typically ranging from $145 to $195 – is too high for many older women.

“This week, I will be writing to every private mammogram clinic in New Zealand, asking them to offer discounted mammograms to women over 70,” Mrs Henderson said.

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. The NZBCF would like to see free screening extended to age 74 here. “That will require resourcing BreastScreen Aotearoa to handle the increased numbers,” Mrs Henderson pointed out. “We realise it’s not an overnight event.”

The NZBCF has introduced Screen70+, an online interactive decision aid for older women, to help them evaluate the decision to continue mammogram screening in the context of their overall health. Try Screen70+ at www.nzbcf.org.nz/OlderWomen.

About NZBCF
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.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines

 

Scoop Review Of Books: From Here And There

Being Chinese: A New Zealander’s Story
by Helene Wong.
This is the fascinating story of Helene Wong, born in 1949 in Taihape to Chinese parents: her mother, born soon after her parents migrated here, and her father, born in China but sent to relatives in Taihape at seven to get an education in English. More>>

Chiku: Hamilton Zoo's Baby Chimpanzee Named

Hamilton Zoo has named its three-month-old baby chimpanzee after a month-long public naming competition through the popular zoo’s website. The name chosen is Chiku, a Swahili name for girls meaning "talker" or "one who chatters". More>>

Game Over: Trans-Tasman Netball League To Discontinue

Netball Australia and Netball New Zealand have confirmed that the existing ANZ Championship format will discontinue after the current 2016 season, with both organisations to form national netball leagues in their respective countries. More>>

NZSO Review: Stephen Hough Is Perfection-Plus

He took risks, and leant into the music when required. But you also felt that every moment of his playing made sense in the wider picture of the piece. Playing alongside him, the NZSO were wonderful as ever, and their guest conductor, Gustavo Gimeno, coaxed from them a slightly darker, edgier sound than I’m used to hearing. More>>

ALSO:

Howard Davis Review: King Lear At Circa

In order to celebrate it's 40th birthday, it is perhaps fitting that Circa Theatre should pick a production of 'King Lear,' since it's also somewhat fortuitously Shakespeare's 400th anniversary. If some of the more cerebral poetry is lost in Michael Hurst's streamlined, full throttle production, it's more than made up for by plenty of lascivious violence designed to entertain the groundlings. More>>

Scoop Review Of Books: Tauranga Books Festival

Escape to Tauranga for Queen’s Birthday weekend and an ideas and books-focused festival that includes performance, discussion, story-telling, workshops and an Italian-theme morning tea. More>>

Get More From Scoop

 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
Health
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news