It's been 20 years since the New Zealand Breast Cancer Foundation was established to raise awareness of the cancer which kills up to 650 women each year in New Zealand, by making the topic less taboo.

Since then the foundation has increased free screening for younger and older women, helped to push survival rates up, and raised millions of dollars for research and support projects.

Each year October is awash with pink ribbons as it becomes breast cancer awareness month and a new campaign is launched. This October Kiwi actress Geraldine Brophy will front a bold new education campaign to highlight other symptoms of breast cancer, because women should look for more than a lump.

The "Real Signs of Breast Cancer" campaign features a topless Ms Brophy holding life-size photographs of real breast cancers with lesser known symptoms such as "orange-peel skin", dents and dimples, a change in breast shape or size and nipple changes.

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NZBCF chief executive Van Henderson said 3000 Kiwi women are diagnosed with breast cancer each year and it was hoped the very visual campaign would help to save lives.

Mrs Henderson said although there was much in the foundation's 20-year history to be celebrated, such as a 30 per cent drop in mortality rates, there was no room for complacency.

New statistics from the Auckland register show the 10-year breast cancer survival rate at 71 per cent, compared with 83 per cent five years after diagnosis.

"It is encouraging that women know a lot more about the disease and early detection and how important it is but the work unfortunately still goes on."

HOW TO HELP

- Click HERE to donate to the New Zealand Breast Cancer Foundation.

- Take part in the Estée Lauder Companies' Pink Star Walk in Auckland, Wellington or Christchurch to raise money for the foundation: Visit: http://www.pinkstarwalk.co.nz/

- Buy the foundation's breast cream from Countdown, Pak'nSave, New World, The Warehouse and skinfood.co.nz for $11.99, with $2 going to the foundation

- Go pink for a day. Workplaces around the country are holding "pink days", with all employees wearing pink and donating to the foundation.

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