Progress against cancer has stalled, the Cancer Society says.
It’s calling for major changes to cancer planning and co-ordination in New Zealand, based on the findings of a new international study published in the Lancet medical journal last month.
The Concord-3 study analysed the records of 37.5 million patients diagnosed with 18 cancers from 2000 to 2014.
New Zealand comes out among the top eight countries of the world with the highest five-year net survival for most cancers.
But Australia did better, according to the data on some of the most common cancers in New Zealand, notably colorectal, lung, melanoma, breast (women) and prostate.
The Cancer Society said today in these groups alone, 2382 New Zealand cancer patients would have survived if New Zealand had Australia’s cancer survival rates. Overall, if other cancers were added the list, the society said 2500 New Zealanders would have survived during this period had they lived in Australia.
Its medical director, Chris Jackson, said while New Zealand has some of the better survival rates for cancer compared to developing nations, this country is still significantly behind Australia and Canada.
He said that shows there is room for improvement. “Progress against cancer has stalled and we’re calling for a reboot to the cancer programme.”
New Zealand outstripped Australia on five-year survival in lymphoma in children and acute lymphoblastic leukaemias in children, but fell behind in brain cancer for children.
“We have centralised cancer care for child cancers in New Zealand, in Christchurch and [at] Starship (Auckland) and this shows in the data as we are doing better than Australia for our children. But in almost all adult cancers we have fallen behind,” Dr Jackson said.
- A 10-year cancer control strategy.
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By Karen Brown/ 19th February 2018