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Maori Party MPs Wear Pink Ribbons with Pride

Maori Party MPs Wear Pink Ribbons with Pride
Tariana Turia, Co-leader, Maori Party

Tuesday 10 October 2006

The Maori Party supports the ‘Hope for Families’ event to be held today at 1pm in Parliament Grounds as part of National Breast Cancer Awareness Week. Each of the four Maori Party members has experienced the loss of whanau members to breast cancer.

“We are proud to be part of any initiative which promotes the ‘life-saving’ messages of early detection” said Tariana Turia, Maori Party health spokesperson.

“The pink pride promotion is a great way to encourage our sisters, our mothers, our aunties, our grandmothers to access breast cancer screening and treatment”.

Breast Cancer is the most common cancer affecting women in New Zealand.
The presence of age-specific disparities in breast cancer mortality between Maori and non-Maori (despite similar breast cancer incidence rates) is of particular concern. Maori women have a similar risk of developing breast cancer but a greater risk of death from breast cancer than non-Maori women.

“Maori women have a 47.7% higher mortality rate than non-Maori” said Mrs Turia. “There are lots of reasons for this” said Mrs Turia. “Some that we know, include that Maori women:

- may experience a greater delay in diagnosis of their breast cancer as a result of differential access to screening and/or primary health care.

- may experience poorer outcomes from breast cancer treatment associated with differential access to treatment, patterns of referral, and/or quality of care;

- are also less likely to receive breast cancer screening services”. [Between 1999 and 2001, BreastScreen Aotearoa data show that participation in breast cancer screening was significantly lower for Maori (39%) and Pacific (34%) women than for non-Maori/non-Pacific women (59%).]

“The Maori Party will be demanding better recognition from the Government, for specific initiatives to ensure Maori women are able to access breast cancer screening - unless of course they are happy for ethnic inequalities in mortality to persist”.

“I have also signed the Breast Cancer Network petition, calling for a breast cancer strategy that focuses on prevention of breast cancer and the reduction of risk” said Mrs Turia. “We must all act now, to reduce the endless suffering to our families, and the tragic loss of lives to breast cancer”.

“Maori women are clearly a priority group for access to breast cancer screening - commitment in this area will yield huge benefits for whanau Maori” ended Mrs Turia.

ENDS

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