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Cancer Control Council A Critical Milestone

Cancer Control Council A Critical Milestone

The establishment of an independent Cancer Control Council, announced today by the Minister of Health, has been commended by the New Zealand Cancer Control Trust as a “significant and critical milestone”.

Trust chairman, Associate Professor Brian Cox, says the new council, along with the creation of a Cancer Control Collaborative and a dedicated cancer control position in the Ministry of Health, are real steps forward in adopting a more planned approach to tackling cancer in New Zealand. “These initiatives reflect the Government’s recognition of the significance of cancer and its commitment to taking a long-term, co-ordinated approach to addressing the devastating impact of cancer in New Zealand,” Professor Cox said.

“New Zealanders are all too aware of the problems facing this country in terms of cancer. Today’s announcement represents a real opportunity to address these by taking a more systematic, co-ordinated and effective approach, known as cancer control.”

Professor Cox acknowledged the problems cannot be resolved overnight, and some issues will take longer than others to address. However, he says the Council provides the opportunity for strategic oversight for cancer control in New Zealand and for issues to be addressed in a timely and co-ordinated manner. The Council will also provide a dedicated and sustainable focus to cancer control.

The Trust is especially pleased by the independence of the Council.

“This is important so everyone involved, including the community, can have confidence that issues of concern are being addressed systematically,” Professor Cox said.

“We see the Council and the Collaborative as having a critical role in fostering collaboration and co-ordination among all who have expertise and a role in cancer control, including the government, non-government and private sectors, a well as in universities, professionals organisations and the community.

“Improvements in cancer control require increased commitment and enhanced effort by everyone involved, with everyone working together in a co-ordinated way to achieve agreed action. To date we haven’t had mechanisms to ensure this happens; the Council and Collaborative provide an opportunity for this to change.

The establishment of the Ministry position is also important in ensuring there is a dedicated focus for cancer control within the Ministry of Health, Professor Cox said.

“We see this position as having a key role in advancing the Ministry’s role in cancer control and working closely with the Council.”

Professor Cox said today’s announcements represent a ‘coming to fruition’ of the joint initiatives undertaken by the Ministry of Health and the Trust.

“This collaboration has represented a unique commitment of both government and non-government agencies to work together to minimise the incidence and impact of cancer in New Zealand,” Professor Cox said.

The New Zealand Cancer Control Strategy, launched by the Minister of Health in 2003, was developed jointly by the Ministry and the Trust, with funding from both agencies.

The Trust was set up with funding from the Cancer Society of New Zealand and the Child Cancer Foundation to represent the non-Government sector in facilitating the development and implementation of a cancer control strategy and identifying the body needed for oversight of cancer control in New Zealand. The Director’s Cancer Research Trust funds Professor Cox’s position at the University of Otago.

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