Pleasing improvement in Pacific breast screening rates

BSA Get the Girls Out campaing poster
Ella and Whetu encourage women to ‘Get the Girls Out!'
Breast screening rates for Pacific women have reached nearly 72 percent – a big increase over the last two years.

In November 2010 screening rates for Pacific women aged 45 to 69 were 64 percent - considerably lower than the 70.3 percent for non-Māori/non-Pacific women. Latest figures show, while coverage rates have increased for all groups since then, Pacific coverage rates have increased the most, to 71.9 percent, a relative change of over 12 percent in two years.

Rates for Maori women have increased from 60.4 percent to 64.8 percent, and from 70.3 to 72.0 percent for non-Maori/non Pacific women.

BreastScreen Aotearoa programme leader Maree Pierce says a number of factors have contributed to the increase.

“Our BreastScreen Aotearoa providers do an outstanding job of encouraging Pacific women to have their breast screening and the initiatives seen in Breast Cancer Action Month, and all year round, show just how much thought goes into reaching them. Playing Pacific language messages on local radio, holding Pacifica health days, and speaking at Pacific churches are just a few of the activities that take place around the country.”

She says the ‘Get the Girls Out’ commercials featuring ‘aunties’ Ella and Whetu have also played a part in the increased screening rates.

“Our research showed priority women wanted more direct messages about why women should have breast screening every two years. We were also asked to demystify the screening process, by showing what actually happens when someone has a mammogram."

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Page last updated: 27 February 2013