National will extend free breast cancer screening

The next National Government will extend free breast cancer screening for those aged up to 74 years, National’s Health spokesperson Dr Shane Reti and Women spokesperson Nicola Grigg say.

“Breast cancer is the most common cancer for New Zealand women, with one in nine women being affected by it in their lifetime,” Dr Reti says.

“Around 80 per cent of women who succumb to breast cancer are aged 50 years or older.

“The current breast screening age in New Zealand is up to 69 years which is five years behind other countries such as Australia, Canada and the US, who all screen up to 74 years.

“Extending the breast cancer screening age will mean that over a lifetime, the number of free mammograms a woman can have will increase from 18 to 20. This will have the potential to save up to 65 lives per year.

“This change will keep New Zealand up with international best practice and will result in saving the lives of more women.”

“One of the most pressing concerns I hear from women across the country are the real – and worsening – inequities in their healthcare,” Ms Grigg says.

“Supporting the Breast Cancer Foundation, and other women’s health advocates also promoting this important initiative, is a top priority for National.

“National is working closely with women’s health organisations to develop policies in the key areas that New Zealanders have told us really matter to them – that includes the prevention and treatment of women’s cancers.

“If the current Government does not make this change to save the lives of women across New Zealand, then a National Government will.”