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Cancer statistics released

Cancer statistics released

Cancer chart book findings a 'wake up call' requiring action on all fronts.

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Maori continue to suffer from a higher rate of cancer than non-Maori according to a report carried out by the Wellington School of Medicine.

Speaking at the launch today of 'Unequal Impact - Maori and Non-Maori Cancer Statistics 1996-2001' Associate Minister of Health, Mita Ririnui said the cancer chart book findings were a 'wake up call' requiring action on all fronts.

Statistics not published before showed Maori patients were less likely than non-Maori to be diagnosed at an early stage of the cancer, and more likely to be diagnosed once the cancer had spread. Early detection would increase survival for those with cancer, especially those with good treatment prospects. Primary health care services have a critical role to play in ensuring Maori receive screening services and prompt referrals to diagnostic testing.

He said the need to address issues identified in the chart book were particularly important given the uneven impact of cancer, with cancer mortality decreasing among non-Maori, but increasing among Maori.

"Up until now we have lacked the comprehensive detailed information necessary to make a planned, systematic and coordinated response to this situation," he said.

"This chart book changes that. It gives us full analyses of differences in cancer incidences, mortality, stage of diagnosis and survival in New Zealand using national cancer registrations and deaths data between 1996 -2001."

Mr. Ririnui said the data and information will be invaluable to the National Cancer Control Strategy and Action Plan and will inform their implementation.

"It will also be a significant tool for Maori in determining their own priorities for cancer control, service development, community interventions, and monitoring."

"No-one deserves to have cancer and anyone with cancer deserves the best available care.

"The findings in this chart book indicate the stark disparities in experiences and outcomes of cancer between Maori and non-Maori. However they provide the impetus for all of us - government, the health sector - to step up our efforts," said Mita Ririnui.

ENDS

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