Breast Cancer Foundation NZ is asking Bay of Plenty folk to support its Pink Ribbon Appeal Friday and Saturday.

Collectors will be shaking their pink buckets at 49 sites across the area, aiming to raise funds for research into new targeted treatments, medical equipment for hospitals, life-saving awareness and education programmes, and support for people going through breast cancer.

About 200 people in the Bay of Plenty area are diagnosed with breast cancer each year, and around 45 die of breast cancer each year.

"We have dozens of volunteers here in Bay of Plenty – 9000 around the country – who have generously committed their time to this week's appeal," says BCFNZ chief executive Evangelia Henderson.


"Now we need Kiwis everywhere to drop a gold coin in the bucket – your gift helps us work towards our long term vision of zero deaths from breast cancer.

"If you don't have loose change on the day you can text PINK to 4499 to make a $3
donation. Either way, we'll be very grateful," Henderson said.

With breast cancer the most common cancer for New Zealand women – eight women a day are diagnosed, and one in nine women will be diagnosed in their lifetime – almost everyone knows someone affected by breast cancer.

Research shows that the earlier it is detected, the better the outcome, so BCFNZ is reminding all women to be breast aware from age 20.

"These days, we have the knowledge to beat breast cancer if it's found early," Henderson said.

"All women should be aware – know the normal look and feel of your breasts so you can report changes to your doctor. Consider annual mammograms from age 40, then have mammograms every two years from age 50. Free screening is available between 45 and 69 through the national breast screening service. Over 70s should continue mammograms every two years, even if you have to pay for them."

Men can get breast cancer, too - about 25 are diagnosed each year in New Zealand.

Visit the Foundation's site for more information about signs of breast cancer and how to check your breasts.