Breast cancer

Breast cancer is New Zealand’s third most common cancer and accounts for more than 600 deaths every year.

The risk of being diagnosed with breast cancer increases with age.

  • Breast cancer isn’t common in women under the age of 50.
  • About 70% of women who are diagnosed with breast cancer and about 80% of women who die from it are 50 years or older.

Some women are at greater risk of breast cancer because there is a history of close family members having the disease. However, most women who develop breast cancer have no relatives with the disease. Even among women who do have relatives with breast cancer, most will never develop it.


Related websites

Breast Cancer Aotearoa Coalition
A charity providing information, support and representation for those with breast cancer. This website covers breast cancer detection, treatment and care and includes links to others experiencing breast cancer.

Breast Cancer Foundation
The country’s leading breast cancer education and awareness organisation. Has information on screening and early detection, diagnosis, and treatment.

Cancer Society
The Cancer Society of New Zealand is the country’s largest source of information about cancer and its effects. This website provides information on types of cancer, diagnosis, methods of treatment and advice on living with cancer.

BreastScreen Aotearoa
New Zealand’s national breast screening programme checks women for early signs of breast cancer, providing free mammograms to women aged 45–69.

Best Health
This British Medical Journal website provides information on different cancers and describes treatments that work or are likely to work, the harms and benefits, treatments that are unlikely to work or may be harmful and information on tests and operations.

Better Health Channel
The Better Health Channel is a Victorian (Australia) State Government website. It provides a wide range of health and medical information on conditions including cancer.

Health Navigator
The Health Navigator NZ website helps you find reliable and trustworthy health information and self-help resources on breast cancer.


Find out more from the Ministry

Cancer control
The Ministry leads a national work programme that provides a strategic focus for cancer control, and for system-wide improvements across the spectrum of cancer services.

National Screening Unit
The National Screening Unit is responsible for the development, management and monitoring of nationally organised population-based screening in New Zealand.