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Improving Maori Understanding Of Cancer Crisis

Media Release
Monday 16 August 2004

Improving Maori Understanding Of Cancer Crisis

Cancer is the leading cause of death for Maori women and the second most frequent cause for Maori men. Cancer mortality is 51% higher for Maori males, and 78% higher for Maori females than non-Maori.

Trying to do something about these grim health statistics is the focus of the first ‘Hui on Cancer’ for Maori in New Zealand, to be held at the Rehua Marae in Christchurch on Tuesday August 17.

The hui has been organised by the Christchurch School of Medicine and Health Sciences, Otago University, and supported by the Canterbury/West Coast Division of the Cancer Society.

Research Manager Maori at the School, Elizabeth Cunningham, says it is very important that Maori understand why cancer is having such a serious effect on their community. She says health providers and those who know about cancer need to reach out and help Maori communities who are suffering from this disease.

“We have many medical scientists and doctors at the School of Medicine and Health Sciences who are working hard in cancer research, who’re happy to share their knowledge with tangata whenua, “ she says.

“This is an exciting first opportunity to bring these two groups together to show the importance of N.Z. focussed medical research to beat cancer, and to encourage the Maori community to be more aware of early intervention and healthy living.”

The hui is expected to attract 70 participants from the Maori community in Christchurch. It will feature speakers on range of issues from how cancer affects New Zealanders and the Maori population, to the importance of local research into cancer, and the role of diet in cancer prevention.

The hui will open at 10am with a powhiri, followed by comment from the Cancer Society Chairperson, Margaret Reeve, and the Dean, Professor Ian Town. Other speakers include:

- Professor Chris Cunningham. Massey University (Ngati Raukawa/Ngati Toa) will speak on the N.Z. Cancer Control Strategy and an overview of how cancer affects Maori.

- Dr Randall Allardyce (Department of Surgery). Bowel cancer surgery, laproscopic and conventional methods.

- Associate Professor Chris Atkinson. (Oncology Christchurch Hospital). Oncology and haematology palliative care.

- Dr Grant McKenzie. (Cancer Genetics Research Group). Breast cancer research.

- Dr Anthony Raizis (Molecular Biology) Preventing cancer through diet.

- Elizabeth Chesterman. ( Cancer Society of N.Z.) The role of the Cancer Society.

- Panel discussion chaired by Associate Professor Tony Kettle (Free Radical Research Group)

The hui will finish at 3pm.

For further information contact;

Elizabeth Cunningham. Research Manager Maori
Christchurch School of Medicine & Health Sciences, University of Otago.

© Scoop Media

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