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Two Major Issues Facing Cancer Sector

Dec 16 2008

Media Release

Workforce And Data Collection, Two Major Issues Facing Cancer Sector

The Cancer Control Council of New Zealand, spokesman Professor Tony Blakely says the Council is still very concerned with the rate of progress on two issues critical to the successful implementation of the cancer control strategy.

The Council has just published Mapping Progress II, Phase 1 of the Cancer Control Strategy Action Plan 2005-2010.

“While considerable progress has been made in some areas like tobacco control and consumer representation, the council remains concerned about the lack of progress in tackling workforce and data collection issues.”

“These two elements of cancer control are vital to the improving the delivery of cancer services to New Zealanders, and research to improve cancer control from prevention to palliation. The sector needs good data to ensure good decisions are made and the council recommends that the development of a national cancer data system be given a higher priority. The Council also recommends that the Minister give priority to the developing of a process to address workforce issues. “

While these issues are of concern to the Council there are other areas of the strategy that have had a real impact on cancer outcomes for New Zealanders.

“Tobacco control interventions have resulted in real benefits to the nation with less young people smoking that even before (57% have never smoked) and that will mean better health outcomes for future generations.

“There have also been some real gains in diagnosis and treatment which have come about through greater regional coordination. Sector collaboration is key to ensuring that best practice is implemented, best ideas are shared and that patients can expect a consistency in treatment standards across the country.

A third priority area identified by the Council is to sustain and strengthen efforts to reduce cancer inequalities. For example, Māori have lower survival than non-Māori from colorectal cancer. It is imperative that the planning and implementation of the forthcoming colorectal cancer screening programme does not further widen these inequalities, but rather narrows them.

“The 5 year strategy 2005 -2010 was designed to kick start a collaborative approach to cancer control and while it has achieved many of its aims, monitoring its progress also offers a tangible way to pinpoint where more work needs to be done.”

The Council will continue its yearly monitoring of the Cancer Control Strategy Action Plan.

A copy of the Council’s report is available from



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