Record $1 million investment from BCFNZ for new diagnostic breast service
Breast Cancer Foundation NZ (BCFNZ) has partnered with Waitematā District Health Board to build a new diagnostic breast service which will radically improve the way patients in North and West Auckland are assessed and treated.
The record $1 million grant made by BCFNZ towards Kia Ū Ora, the new Waitematā Breast Service which officially opened today at North Shore Hospital, has helped bring together all breast services into one area so that patients can be diagnosed and treated sooner. The clinic also features additional mammogram and ultrasound machines, and a new oncoplastic breast fellowship to train surgeons in advanced breast surgery techniques.
Justine Smyth, chair of BCFNZ, said: “Our $1 million contribution to Kia Ū Ora is recognition of just how important this service is. It’s crucial that everyone who is referred by their GP to North Shore Hospital is seen quickly so that any breast cancer found can be treated as early as possible, giving the best chance of survival.
“Going through a cancer assessment is hugely worrying and women shouldn’t have to face unnecessary delays. Our record investment has helped to create a modernised service that will minimise time and trauma for patients.”
North Shore Hospital has one of the busiest breast clinics in New Zealand. Up to 100 women a week are referred there by their GPs for assessment, and patients also come through BreastScreen Aotearoa’s mammogram programme. Since the national Covid-19 lockdown when breast screening was paused for around six weeks, the hospital has seen a surge in referrals from BreastScreen Aotearoa.
Kolini Ma’afu, who is 43 and lives in Henderson, was diagnosed with breast cancer just before the Covid-19 lockdown in March last year, after first noticing symptoms the previous November. She is now three months on from completing a gruelling treatment regime which included a lumpectomy, chemotherapy and radiotherapy.
Kolini said: “Finding out I had breast cancer was a massive shock and everything that came afterwards was a terrifying rollercoaster ride. Waiting for the results from all of the different tests was one of the most stressful parts. Anything that could speed up the process, and having everything together under one roof, will make it much easier and bring a lot of comfort to women having to go through breast cancer.”
BCFNZ was the principal supporter of Kia Ū Ora. Waitematā DHB’s official fundraising body, Well Foundation, achieved a further $1 million for the service through funding, sponsorship and donations. BCFNZ’s contribution of $1 million is the largest grant the charity has ever gifted since it was founded in 1994.