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Digital switchover for breast screening completed

Hon Jo Goodhew
Associate Minister of Health

30 January 2014

Digital switchover for breast screening completed

Associate Health Minister Jo Goodhew has today announced that the country’s free breast screening programme, BreastScreen Aotearoa, is now fully digital.

“The total digitalisation of the country’s breast screening service is a significant milestone in the Government’s commitment to improved technology and access to high quality breast screening services,” says Mrs Goodhew.

“Digital mammography technology provides a number of benefits that make the service more efficient.

“The quality of images can be checked immediately on the mobile vans, which means less women need to be recalled for repeat mammograms. Digital screening delivers lower doses of radiation which is safer for women. And better quality images are obtained for women under 50 and those with dense or difficult breast tissue.

“To complement the digital upgrade a centralised picture archive and communications system has also been established.

“This new centralised system will reduce the risk of misplacing or damaging images and means images can be sent to radiologists across the country to be read, speeding up the reading process,” says Mrs Goodhew.

Breast cancer is the most common cancer for New Zealand women, with one in nine women being diagnosed with the disease in their lifetime.

“Under this Government, BreastScreen Aotearoa has for the first time achieved its coverage target of 70 per cent of eligible women being screened every two years,” says Mrs Goodhew.

“This is just another example of the progress this Government is making in the diagnosing and treatment of cancer.

“In addition to the investment of over $10 million in digital mammography technology, the Government allocated $25 million over four years in Budget 2013 to increase the number of people being screened for diseases, particularly breast cancer.”

Further information can be found here: www.nsu.govt.nz/current-nsu-programmes/breastscreen-aotearoa.aspx

ENDS

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