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Waitemata Has Lowest Cancer Death Rates in New Zealand


MEDIA RELEASE
16 August 2012

Waitemata Has Lowest Cancer Death Rates in New Zealand


People living in the Waitemata district have the lowest cancer death rates in the country, a new report has found.

An annual statistical publication by the Ministry of Health, Cancer: New Registrations and Deaths 2009, has revealed that four DHBs in the country – Waitemata, Capital & Coast, Nelson Marlborough and Canterbury – have death rates from cancer that were significantly lower than the national average. Waitemata had the lowest cancer death rates of all 21 DHBs.

“A lot of work has gone into ensuring that cancers are caught early, and if cancer is diagnosed, for treatment to be provided as quickly as possible,” says Waitemata DHB chief executive Dr Dale Bramley.

The findings indicate a continuation of a trend, as Waitemata also had the lowest cancer death rates of all 21 DHBs between 2006 and 2008.

“We are constantly looking at ways to further improve the cancer detection pathway for our population. Our low death rate from cancer could not have been achieved without the support of our healthcare partners, in particular the primary care sector.”

There has also been a strong emphasis on encouraging positive lifestyle choices among the district’s population, says Dr Bramley, a public health physician.

Last year, Waitemata DHB started screening its population for bowel cancer as part of the four year national BowelScreening pilot. The first programme of its kind in New Zealand, the programme will see
134,000 eligible people in Waitemata district aged between 50 and 74 tested for bowel cancer, the second most common cancer in New Zealand.

“In our district alone more than 100 people die from the disease each year, and it is hoped the screening programme will help reduce these deaths,” says Dr Bramley.

“While the programme is still less than a year old, more than 13,000 people have returned a sample for testing, picking up 12 cancers.

“Our pilot will be evaluated to assess its impacts, and whether a screening programme for bowel cancer should be rolled out nationally.”

More information on the latest national cancer statistics is available from the Ministry of Health report, which can be found at www.health.govt.nz/publication/cancer-new-registrations-and-deaths-2009.

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