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Promoting breast awareness for a healthy and happy workplace

Promoting breast awareness for a healthy and happy workplace
Ah-Leen Rayner with Stacey Morrison and Angie Russell from NZME at their Pink Ribbon Breakfast fundraiser

Promoting breast awareness for a healthy and happy workplace

Ah-Leen Rayner, chief executive of Breast Cancer Foundation NZ, explains why promoting breast health awareness in the workplace is a wellness programme every employer should implement.

What does good leadership look like when it comes to supporting the health and wellbeing of my team?

To me, it’s about taking care of those in my charge. I believe the success of any organisation goes hand in hand with the health and wellbeing of its people. That’s why being proactive about a healthy workforce matters to me.

In New Zealand, women make up almost half (48%) of the paid workforce. Breast cancer is the most common cancer for Kiwi women and 60% of breast cancers occur in women of working age (18-65). Although the incidence is high, the encouraging news is that survival rates are also high if breast cancer is detected early.

So, boosting breast cancer awareness is not only a way to demonstrate a commitment to your staff’s wellbeing, it may even save lives.

Here are some easy ways you can promote breast health awareness at work:

Give your female staff time off for mammograms

The 10-year survival rate for women who have breast cancer detected through a screening mammogram is 92%, yet we know around a third of eligible women aren’t participating regularly in the free screening programme.

Women aged 45-69 can have a free mammogram through BreastScreen Aotearoa every two years. By allowing staff a couple of hours off during the working day to get their mammograms, businesses will be removing one of the barriers to breast screening: time.

Sign up to Pink For a Day this October

Every October, hundreds of workplaces around Aotearoa take part in Pink For a Day to mark Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

By fundraising for Breast Cancer Foundation NZ, you’ll be helping us towards our vision of zero deaths from breast cancer through our vital work in research, education and patient support.

It’s also an opportunity to build staff engagement through dressing up in pink, holding a pink morning tea or running a pink ‘lunch and learn’. There are a variety of ways to get involved and we’ll send you out all the resources you need to have a fun and informative event. Find out more here.

Be supportive of breast cancer survivors returning to work

Every day, nine women in New Zealand are diagnosed with breast cancer, so it's likely that someone in your workplace will be diagnosed, has had breast cancer in the past or is supporting someone with breast cancer. The right support can make all the difference and there are a number of ways you can help.

Take a look at the factsheet we’ve put together about supporting employees who have been diagnosed with breast cancer.

No matter how you might decide to promote breast health in your workplace, increasing awareness and education about breast cancer will pay huge dividends. Advances in research have meant that breast cancer is most survivable when caught in its earliest stages, so spreading the message about the importance of early detection gives the best protection.