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Maori Women Top The World In Pancreatic Cancer

MELBOURNE, Australia, 5th Sept./MediaNet International-AsiaNet/ -- More research should be undertaken and more money should be spent in New Zealand to find out why Maori women have the highest rate of pancreatic cancer in the world and why it is virtually unheard of in Pacific Islanders.

New research presented at the Australasian College of Surgeons Annual Scientific meeting in Palmerston North today showed that gall bladder and pancreatic cancers are far more common in Maori women, than males and gall bladder cancer is three times more common in Maoris.

Surgeon Mr. Jonathan Koea from Auckland Hospital presented his results today at the premier meeting of surgeons in New Zealand.

"These are cancers that are not well understood as there has not been enough research done. Historically they have been neglected in favour of the other more attractive cancers like breast or prostate cancer.

"The reasons for this is that these types of cancers usually present in the elderly, less wealthy patients where the cancer tends to be more advanced and their outcome is usually bad.

"We can treat them, but they don't have the same resources as other high profile cancers. The more we can find out about them the better we can treat them.

"In terms of pancreatic cancer, Maoris are at an at risk group and there are implications for the Government in terms of health policy. What we should be doing clinically is concentrating on the screening of Maoris for these cancers, look at their family history and their patterns of inheritance," Dr Koea said.

Mr. Koea said that the research was conducted through the National Cancer Registry between 1988 - 1996.

The surgeons annual scientific meeting is focussing on cancer in the 21st century, what can be done to improve the survival rates from cancers and what more can be done in term of prevention.

SOURCE: Royal Australasian College of Surgeons


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