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Mobile Breast Screening Enhances Women's Health

Mobile Breast Screening Service Enhances Women's Health

Rural women will have the same access to breast screening services as urban women thanks to the availability of new mobile breast screening units, Prime Minister Jenny Shipley said today at the launch of a new unit for the Palmerston North area.

"Last year, I was involved in the launch of BreastScreen Aotearoa. Now I'm pleased to announce this further enhancement of the service following successful pilot programmes in Hamilton and Otago," Mrs Shipley said.

"I implore all 50 to 64-year-old women to get along to one of these mobile units or to their local breast screening service and get tested for breast cancer. It could save your life."

Mrs Shipley launched the mobile breast screening unit at the Rangitikei Health Centre in Marton. The unit is operated by BreastScreen Coast to Coast, a service run by Palmerston North Hospital. Other units will be operating in Auckland, Hamilton, Hutt Valley, Christchurch and Otago.

The breast screening programme provides free two-yearly mammograms to women aged between 50 and 64 (about 250,000 women) who do not have signs of breast cancer. The service aims to have 70 per cent of the target group enrolled in the programme within the next five years.

Nearly 10 per cent of women in New Zealand develop breast cancer, and approximately 580 women die from the disease each year.

"I urge women to be more conscious of their health needs and to use the services available to them. It is so important to detect problems early, giving people a greater chance to survive," Mrs Shipley said.

Information on Breast Screen Aotearoa is available free on 0800 270 200.


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