Your risk of breast cancer increases as you age, so we recommend women consider starting mammograms from age 40. Cancers also grow faster in younger women, so we recommend annual screening in your 40s. Up to the age of 45, you'll have to pay for a mammogram and the cost could range from $150 - $200, so it pays to call around. Your doctor or practice nurse will be able to suggest a local radiology clinic or you can search the Foundation's Pink Pages.
Having a mother or sister who’s had breast or ovarian cancer at a young age can increase your risk, so it’s important to know your family history, and to discuss any family history of cancer with your doctor. It also helps to learn about the lifestyle factors which can reduce the risk of breast cancer.
In this section:
Learn what to expect at your first mammogram, and watch Anne have hers. Don't be shy, over 70% of NZ women aged between 45-69 years have regular mammograms.
Free mammograms from 45-69 years
On turning 45, women with no prior history of breast cancer symptoms can sign up to the national screening programme run by BreastScreen Aotearoa. To enrol for free mammograms until the age of 69 years, freephone 0800 270 200.
Unusual breast changes
If you detect any unusual breast changes between mammograms, go and see your doctor promptly especially if you experience any of the following.
Understand your family history If possible, talk with mum or family members about breast cancer in your family. Just because your mum or grandmother had breast cancer doesn’t mean you’ll get it too, but be vigilant and know what to do.