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Budget news good news for cancer

Budget news good news for cancer

Dalton Kelly, Chief Executive of the Cancer Society, welcomes today’s budget announcement that the Government will deliver an additional $32.7 million over four years to further improve cancer services.

“The Society is delighted to see its advocacy as part of the CANGO* group recognised with an investment of an extra $8 million to further reduce waiting times for colonoscopies.” Colonoscopies identify if a person has cancer or pre-cancerous growths called polyps that can be removed easily.

“While we would really like to see the roll out of a national bowel screening programme – this is a good start. Bowel cancer is the second most common cancer in New Zealand with almost 3,000 New Zealanders newly diagnosed each year. Catching it early can make a huge difference. Currently people diagnosed with bowel cancer have only a 55% chance of surviving more than five years. Reduced waiting times for screening may raise that figure to 75% as the cancer will be picked up earlier.

“An additional $110 million for elective surgery will also benefit people with cancer.”

“Another of the really pleasing features is the investment in services that provide better support for cancer patients, in terms of their emotional well-being. A cancer diagnosis is traumatic for the patient and the family. The new money will mean people diagnosed with cancer, and their families, will receive more support and counselling as each of the six cancer treatment centres will have the services of a specialist psychologist.”

Also as part of the package up to 20 cancer support workers will be employed in major hospitals to provide counselling for patients. A national lead will provide overall guidance and professional support.

The new spending includes $5.4 million for breast and cervical screening programmes, to ensure more women receive high-quality screening services.

“Every year more than 20,000 New Zealanders are diagnosed with cancer, and the figure will grow as our population ages. The investment now will have a long term positive effect.”

* CANGO - Cancer Non-Government Organisations
Beat Bowel Cancer Aotearoa, Cancer Society of New Zealand, Gynaecological Foundation, Hospice New Zealand, Leukaemia and Blood Cancer New Zealand, Melanoma Foundation, Prostate Cancer Foundation, The New Zealand Breast Cancer Foundation.

ENDS

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