A joint project from the Whitianga Lions Club and the Mercury Bay Lions (formerly Lionesses) to raise funds to provide mobile breast screening to women in the Mercury Bay. The Lions Clubs are working closely with local communities to raise funds to make breast screening more accessible and cost effective for the Coromandel area.
Project Mammogram is an important initiative that aims to improve breast cancer detection and treatment outcomes for women in remote and rural areas of the Coromandel Peninsula.
The project target is to raise $350,000 so a 3D mammogram unit can be based in Whitianga. This will mean that women from the eastern side of the peninsula may not have to travel to Thames or Hamilton for mammograms.
What's the difference between 2D and 3D mammograms?
A 2D mammogram takes 4 images of the breast from above and the sides. This can make it hard to see any abnormalities because some breast tissue overlaps in the images.
A 3D mammogram is a more advanced type of mammogram that takes pictures of the breast in 1mm slices. This allows doctors to see any abnormalities more clearly, even if they're hidden behind normal breast tissue.
3D mammograms are better at detecting breast cancer, reducing the chances of needing further testing, and causing less anxiety. They work for women of all ages and breast densities. Overall, 3D mammograms provide better and more accurate results, making them the best choice for breast cancer screening.
Why is a mammogram machine important for Whitianga and the Coromandel Peninsula?
The Coromandel has an annual mammogram bus funded by Te Whatu Ora - Health New Zealand for women aged 45-69. However, many women in this age group are unable to attend due to their busy schedules. In addition, women outside of this age range cannot book appointments on the bus, even if they are willing to pay. This leaves women with no option but to travel to Hamilton or Thames for a mammogram, which can take up to six hours round trip.
The lack of accessible mammogram services is leading to a higher incidence of late diagnosis of breast cancer in the region. Women are putting off screening due to the inconvenience of travel or cost, which can lead to poorer outcomes.
Research shows that having a best practice 3D mammogram machine locally would encourage more women of all ages to be screened, promoting early detection and better outcomes.