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Cancer Society Welcomes Cancer Control Council

Cancer Society Welcomes Cancer Control Council

The Cancer Society of New Zealand welcomes today’s announcement by Health Minister Annette King that she will be establishing a national Cancer Control Council early next year.

Society president Richard Gray says the establishment of a dedicated, independent Council with strategic oversight of cancer in New Zealand is a major achievement for all who are concerned about the consequences of cancer in our community.

He said the establishment of a dedicated body signals acknowledgement by the Health Minister and the Government that cancer is complex and poses significant challenges. It therefore requires a unique approach.

The Society views the Council’s independence and its ability to report direct to the Minister of Health as particularly important for its effectiveness.

Non-government organisations like the Cancer Society undertake a wide range of services and activities with funds raised from the community, Mr Gray said.

“The aim of such services is to reduce the number of people who develop or die from cancer and to ensure a better quality of life for those who have the disease. One of the strengths of the non-government sector is its ability to be innovative and perform roles that cannot be undertaken by the government sector.

“In many areas of the country, the Cancer Society works closely with both government and other non-government services. We recognise the need, however, for greater synergy between these services if we are to best meet the needs of the community,” Mr Gray said.

The Cancer Society believes the Council provides an opportunity for leadership at a strategic level which will foster collaboration and coordination between the many agencies involved in cancer control.

“We have been advocating for improvements in the control of cancer in New Zealand since the mid-1990s and the Society was a major sponsor of a 1999 national workshop which called for the development of a national strategy.

“Over the past three-and-a-half years, the Society has been involved in the development of both The New Zealand Cancer Control Strategy and its implementation plan through our financial support of the New Zealand Cancer Control Trust.”

Together with the Child Cancer Foundation, the Cancer Society has so far invested more than $600,000 in this process. The strategy was developed through a partnership between the Ministry of Health and the Trust.

“This unique relationship reflects the widespread concern about cancer and the need for both the government and the charitable sector to work together to reduce the incidence and impact of cancer in New Zealand,” Mr Gray said.

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