NZ’s progress in tackling breast cancer

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NZ’s progress in tackling breast cancer

How well is NZ doing in tackling breast cancer?

In the first and biggest study of its kind, our analysis of Te Rēhita Mate Ūtaetae - Breast Cancer Foundation National Register reveals New Zealand’s progress in tackling breast cancer.

For more than 20 years, te Rēhita has been collecting data about breast cancer patients in Aotearoa New Zealand. This has given us the unparalleled information we need to assess what needs to be done to stop deaths from breast cancer. 

Our report, 30,000 voices: Informing a better future for breast cancer in Aotearoa New Zealand, was published on World Cancer Day (4 February) 2022.

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We’ve come far, but there’s still a lot to do

The data tells us that we can celebrate some hard-won gains. Our five-year survival is as good as other countries. The survival gap between wāhine Māori, Pacific and European women has narrowed. Our world-class screening programme means more cancers are being picked up earlier. Better treatments and improved clinical practices are leading to better outcomes.

But the five-year mark doesn’t tell us the full story. When you look at the 10-year statistics, it becomes obvious where we need to do better. Younger women, those who struggle to access screening (particularly Māori), Pacific women, and those with aggressive, higher risk and later stage cancers face the biggest threats.

Too many of these women have their breast cancer come back after more than five years, and too many women are diagnosed at a young age for us to be satisfied with five years of life after cancer.

The path ahead

By highlighting the areas where improvements are most needed, this report gives us a catalyst for change.

We’ve set out recommendations for decision-makers, medical professionals, and even ourselves to address the biggest challenges ahead of us. We’ll be using this report to work with everyone in the breast cancer space to make even greater advances in treatment and survival in Aotearoa New Zealand.

It’s one of the greatest tools we have to help us reach our vision of zero deaths from breast cancer.

For more information on Te Rēhita Mate Ūtaetae - Breast Cancer Foundation National Register please click the link below.