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Cancer Patients Facing Treatment Crisis

4 August 2004

Cancer Patients Facing Treatment Crisis

New Zealand is facing a cancer treatment crisis and thousands of patients will die needlessly over the next few years because early detection and treatment cannot be guaranteed, according to Rt Hon Winston Peters.

In Parliament today Mr Peters pointed out the following:

Cancer is one of the biggest killers in this country with three out of every ten deaths caused by the disease.

New Zealanders have a low survival rate.

It is estimated that the number of cases is going to increase from 16,000 to 22,000 a year by 2011, and 9,000 people will die from this disease annually.

There are unacceptable delays in radiotherapy and surgery

There is a dire lack of medical staff specialising in oncology.

There is a shortage of research funding and there are problems acquiring drugs and equipment.

Maori and Pacific Island women especially face serious disadvantages.

“Top cancer specialists are on record warning the Government of this crisis but the Minister’s response is to call for more reports, responses, reviews and working parties and send patients to Australia for treatment,” said Mr Peters.

“Thousands of people are going to die unless something is done now and we urge the Prime Minister to step in and start taking some urgent action to ease the crisis.

“It’s simple – if cancer is detected and treated early many patients will survive but if there are delays, the outlook for them is bleak.

“New Zealanders are demanding action to solve the cancer treatment crisis – and they want it now,” said Mr Peters.


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