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Breast screening extension welcomed

Breast screening extension welcomed

Women's Affairs and Senior Citizens Minister Ruth Dyson today welcomed the government's decision to extend the eligible age range for free breast screening to include women aged 45-49 and 65-69.

The BreastScreen Aotearoa programme currently covers women aged 50-64.

"The government's decision to extend women's access to the BreastScreen Aotearoa programme will improve health outcomes for New Zealand women, and have a positive effect on their families, whanau and communities.

"Early detection is the best way of increasing a woman's survival rate from breast cancer, and mammograms are among the best early detection methods. "A Ministry of Health review shows that an individual woman who is screened regularly can reduce her risk of dying early from breast cancer by between 21 per cent and 46 per cent."

Ruth Dyson said there was strong public support to extend both the lower and upper age limits for publicly-funded breast screening.

"I commend the women's and senior citizens' organisations who have promoted extending the age limits. The extension to the programme will be rolled out from 1 July, as we build our capacity to cope with the extra demand. I encourage all eligible women to take up the opportunity for free screening when it becomes available."

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