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New breast cancer clinic opens in Auckland aiming to increase testing among Māori and Pasifika women

Aiming to turn statistics around, a new breast cancer screening clinic has opened in Auckland, targeting those most vulnerable to the disease.

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Breast cancer survivor Ruth Pirihi is urging woman to get screened. Source: 1 NEWS

Two of Auckland's health boards launched the clinic hoping more Māori and Pasifika women will get screened.

Kaumātua were also on site to bless the opening.

"We call it the DNA - the did not attend. That's one of the biggest problems for our people, at this time," says Fraser Toi, Kaunihera kaumatua.

Specialists will serve nearly 70,000 women in the region aiming to reduce statistics which show Māori women are less likely to be diagnosed early and more likely to die from breast cancer.

Those statistics - not good enough for the Government.

"I think that soul-searching needs to happen across our health service, it is happening in our services but absolutely we can do better," says associate Health Minister, Dr Ayesha Verrall.

One of the challenges is breaking down barriers in the clinic, providing a whānau room for support.

"The traditional health system is built around the idea of privacy being the most important thing but for others, including whānau, being present with your family member is a competing priority, so we do need to think carefully about space in the new facilities that we build," Verrall says.