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Reproductive cancers

Ngā mate pukupuku whakaputa uri

Reproductive cancers are those which occur in the reproductive organs. Breast and cervical cancers and prostate and testicular cancers are the most common reproductive cancers.

What are reproductive cancers?

Reproductive cancers are cancers that occur in the reproductive organs. 

These are cancers in the breast, cervix, uterus, vulva, endometrium or ovaries.

Reproductive cancers can also be found in the prostate, testicles and penis.

What is breast cancer?

Breast cancer is the most common reproductive cancer in Aotearoa New Zealand. Breast cancer is less common in those aged under 50.

The risk of being diagnosed with breast cancer increases with age.

Because breast cancer develops in breast tissue, it is possible for anyone to get breast cancer. 

BreastScreen Aotearoa offers a free breast screening programme (mammography) for those aged 45 to 69 years in Aotearoa New Zealand.  The aim of mammography is to find very small cancers before a lump can be felt.

Early treatment of breast cancer has the best chance of success. Learn more by visiting the Breast Cancer Foundation NZ.

What is ovarian cancer?

There are four main types of ovarian cancer and 85% of people diagnosed with ovarian cancer are diagnosed in the later stages of disease when treatment options are limited.

Cervical screening does not detect ovarian cancer – early detection is only possible if you know the signs and symptoms. Learn more about these symptoms here.

What is cervical cancer?

Cervical cancer is one of the most preventable of all cancers. It is caused by certain types of the human papillomavirus (HPV).

Having regular cervical smear tests offers the best protection against developing cervical cancer. This test will help find abnormal changes in the cells of the cervix.

Everyone with a cervix and aged between 25 and 70 should have a cervical smear test every five years. If abnormal cells have been found you should have smears more frequently. Learn more about cervical screening here.

What is penile cancer?

Penile cancer is a rare condition which occurs when malignant (cancerous) cells form in the tissue of the penis.

If you are over 50 and uncircumcised, you are most at risk of getting penile cancer. If you have a history of genital warts and human papillomavirus (HPV or the wart virus) you are also at higher risk. 

Discuss any penile changes with your doctor. If you have penile cancer, your partner should also be screened for other forms of cancer caused by HPV in the genital area – this includes cervical, vulvar and anal cancer.

What is prostate cancer?

Prostate cancer is very common in Aotearoa New Zealand. There are around 2,500 new diagnoses each year.

Prostate cancer rarely occurs in those younger than 55. Those who develop prostate cancer are mostly over the age of 65. In the very elderly, prostate cancer often grows very slowly and may cause no symptoms.

If you are over 45, you should discuss with your doctor whether to have prostate cancer screening. Learn more at the Prostate Cancer Foundation NZ.

What is testicular cancer?

Testicular cancer is the most common cancer in those between 15 and 35 years but it can happen at any age.

Testicular cancer is almost always curable, particularly if it is diagnosed and treated at an early stage. Learn more at Testicular Cancer New Zealand. 

Family Planning has clinics located throughout New Zealand. Use the clinic finder to find your nearest clinic.

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