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October - Breast Cancer Action Month

October is Breast Cancer Action Month.

And, because cancer is the number one cause of death in New Zealand, we like to talk about it on our life insurance blog.

So, how big is the problem?

Around 2,700 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year and over 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.

In NZ, 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

This shows that a woman’s risk of breast cancer peaks in her 50’s and 60’s.

The following numbers tell us that the rate of breast cancer diagnosis in New Zealand is rising… a 48% increase in the 14-year period from 1995 to 2009.

These numbers also tell us the rate of death from breast cancer is falling slightly.

Both of these trends are due (in part) to the efforts of making women more aware of the need for early and regular screening… which is exactly why we’re talking about it on our blog!

Year Women diagnosed Women that died
1995 1,865 638
1996 1,906 631
1997 1,990 620
1998 2,071 629
1999 2,263 646
2000 2,324 622
2001 2,314 617
2002 2,367 625
2003 2,335 647
2004 2,346 642
2005 2,474 648
2006 2,556 614
2007 2,565 643
2008 2,713 618
2009 2,759 658

For more info on Breast Cancer Action Month, see takeaction.org.nz.

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