Breast Cancer Research Trust’s triple celebration

2 July 2021

The Waikato Breast Cancer Research Trust is celebrating a hat-trick of milestones. The Trust marks its 21st birthday with a gala celebration next month, is about to have a name change, and welcomes its inaugural patron.

The Trust will host a 1920s-inspired soiree at the Gallagher Academy of Performing Arts on August 19. The celebration comes as the Waikato BCR Trust looks set to become the Breast Cancer Research Trust.

“We are incredibly proud that the Trust began right here in the Waikato and it’s where we are still proudly headquartered,” Trust founder and chair Professor Ian Campbell said.

“We’ve decided to remove Waikato from our name, however, because the reality is that we conduct research that benefits women nationwide and, in fact, globally. We wanted to ensure that the name of the Trust reflects the work we do to improve lives for women all over New Zealand and the world.”

And the Trust welcomes its inaugural patron – Lady Tureiti Moxon, Managing Director of Te Kōhao Health.

“Lady Tureiti is a breast cancer survivor, and an innovative and passionate leader in primary care health,” Trust founder and chair Professor Ian Campbell said.

“Lady Tureiti has a vision for reducing breast cancer inequities and establishing a te ao Māori screening hub in Enderley for the early detection of the common cancers including breast cancer.

“The (Waikato) Breast Cancer Research Trust is incredibly privileged to have Lady Tureiti as our patron and, together with the Breast Screen Midland team, we are looking forward to working in partnership with Te Kōhao Health to improve breast cancer outcomes for wāhine.”

Lady Tureiti’s acceptance of the role was marked with a whakatau and visit to Waikato Hospital’s Breast Care Centre, together with a delegation of colleagues and board members. 

Professor Campbell presented research from the Waikato and Auckland Breast Cancer Registers on outcomes for New Zealand women with breast cancer. The Trust runs the Waikato Register, which is now part of the NZ Breast Cancer Foundation National Register.

The studies have shown that Māori wāhine are twice as likely to die from breast cancer compared to women of European background, and that Pasifika women are 2.6 times more likely to have a bad outcome. The difference in outcomes is entirely found amongst women presenting with a symptomatic breast cancer. Māori and Pasifika women diagnosed through the screening program do just as well as any other groups with 10-year survival rates of over 92 per cent.

The 10-year survival rates for women presenting outside the screening program, and with symptoms, were 67 per cent for Māori, and 63 per cent for Pasifika. 

“This research highlights the need to promote breast cancer screening, and breast cancer awareness in our Māori and Pasifika women, where benefits from screening and earlier presentation will have a significantly greater effect than for our whole population,” Professor Campbell said.

Lady Tureiti said that, as a survivor of breast cancer herself, she’s excited to be the patron of the Trust.

“Māori women have one of the highest incidences of breast cancer in the world. As the old adage goes prevention is better than cure so if we are going to reverse this trend we need to be at the forefront of screening and early detection.”

Lady Tureiti has been at the forefront of the health sector for more than 35 years. She was a claimant in Waitangi Tribunal Hauora claims that recommended that a Māori Heath Authority be established – the catalyst that has led to the health reforms currently being undertaken.   

Tickets to the Trust’s 21st birthday cocktail function are $150 per person or $1500 for a table of 10. The evening will include gourmet canapes, entertainment, delicious cocktails and a charity auction. To purchase tickets visit the Trust website, www.brightasabutton.co.nz.