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MAMAgrams for Mother’s Day promotes mammograms to Waikato mums

A MAMAgram – is that like a Strip-a-gram? Radio adverts playing on The Hits and Coast around Waikato at the moment pose that interesting question. The answer? Well….no.

A Waikato promotion campaign was launched this week using Facebook and radio to encourage daughters to speak to their mothers about breast screening mammogram checks – and gives them the chance to win prizes.

It centres around a Facebook page My MAMAgram (www.Facebook.com/mymamagram) aimed at Waikato women who are not yet enrolled in the national breast screening programme or who have not had a mammogram in the past two years.

A mammogram is a simple, free digital x-ray of both breasts to look for any early signs of breast cancer. All women who are eligible for public health services and between 45 and 69 years old can get a free mammogram every two years.

“We have taken a fresh approach to this campaign to reach out to these women and their daughters so they see breast screening in a different light,” said Waikato DHB screening services manager Clare Coles.

That approach involves a good-humoured radio adverts playing on The Coast and The Hits (click on the play button under the featured photo), plus social media postings, a selfie competition and a prize-winning random draw for all eligible Waikato women who have a mammogram between 20 April and 20 June.

She said the rates for mammograms in the Hamilton area were lower than for other parts of the Waikato, and Maori and Pasifika women also have lower rates. “We have two screening sites available at Anglesea Women’s Clinic and Waiora Waikato hospital campus for women who live or work in the Hamilton area.

“All they need to do is ring 0800 270 200 to enrol or book an appointment.”

BreastScreen Midland provides breast screening to eligible women living in the Waikato, Lakes and Bay of Plenty district health board areas.  Rural areas are well served by mobile screening units on scheduled visits. To find out where you can go for a mammogram, anywhere it New Zealand, visit www.nsu.govt.nz/breastscreen-aotearoa/where-have-mammogram

Many women put off having a mammogram because they fear the results or have heard that it hurts. In some cases they feel awkward about exposing their breasts to someone they don’t know.

“Through this campaign we can reassure them what really happens in a mammogram and that their privacy is very much respected. Our staff are wonderful and the process is all over in 10 minutes. You can bring someone along with you – perhaps a friend or a daughter – if that makes it easier.”

For some women it can be sore for a moment, but for many it is just a little bit uncomfortable, that’s all.

“Knowing you are clear of breast cancer is peace of mind for a woman and her family. If something is picked up, it can be dealt early on with a much better rate of successful treatment,” Clare Coles explained.

Of every 1000 women aged 50 to 69 in the national breast screening programme, about 950 will get a clear result, two thirds immediately and the rest after some further assessment.

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