October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Why are we talking about Breast Cancer Awareness on our blog?

Because in NZ, cancer is the number one cause of death and because around 2,400 women are diagnosed with breast cancer each year and around 600 will die... that’s around 12 women dying each week.

All women have a chance of developing breast cancer at some time during their lives. In NZ many women tend not to have regular screening mammograms.... this means if there is breast cancer, it’s often well established by the time their doctor examines them and these women are more at risk of dying from breast cancer... obviously.

Around 1 in 9 NZ women will be diagnosed with breast cancer at some point in their lives but this is still better than Australia, the UK and Europe at around 1 in 8 and the US with 1 in 7.

The risk of a NZ woman being diagnosed with breast cancer is different for each age group...

Age Risk
30s 1 in 204
40s 1 in 67
50s 1 in 35
60s 1 in 33
70s 1 in 38

But what’s of most concern is that the rate of breast cancer diagnosis is rising... an 18% increase in the ten-year period 1995 and 2004...

Year Women diagnosed Women that died
1995 1,865 638
1996 1,906 631
1997 1,990 620
1998 2,071 629
1999 2,248 646
2000 2,300 622
2001 2,310 617
2002 2,345 625
2003 2,297 647
2004 2,361 646

But these numbers also tell us the rate of death from breast cancer is falling... due (in part) to the efforts of making women more aware of the need for regular screening... which is exactly why we're talking about it on our blog!

For more info about risk factors and how to reduce these risks, see the Breast Cancer Foundation website.

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