A Papamoa medical centre says it has made breast screening easier for local residents.
Papamoa Pines Medical Centre nurse manager Jane Campbell said it was important women had time to talk about screening to enable them to make informed choices and to have an appointment that fitted in with their busy lives.
"It's also about getting the message across that the sooner breast cancer is found, the better the chances are for survival. There are more choices for treatment when breast cancer is found early," she said.
Ms Campbell said Papamoa Pines had now exceeded their target of screening 70 per cent of eligible female patients by increasing the number of women screened from 65.4 per cent in February 2012 to 80 per cent in October.
Breast cancer is the leading cause of cancer mortality in New Zealand women. Research states Maori women when compared to non-Maori are more likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer and, after diagnosis, are two-thirds more likely to die as a result.
Free mammograms for women aged 45 to 69 years are available through organisation BreastScreen Aotearoa. It is recommended women aged 45 and over have screening mammograms every two years.
"The mammogram looks for breast lumps and changes in breast tissue that may develop into problems over time."
Ms Campbell said Papamoa Pines' old approach to screening was cumbersome and took up valuable nursing time. However many women did not have the time or inclination to contact BreastScreening themselves so the new process worked well, Ms Campbell said.
Bay of Plenty District Health Board Maori health planning and funding senior portfolio manager and breast screening champion Kiri Peita said she encouraged women to take part in regular screening as early detection was women's best protection.