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Improved Screening For Women's Cancers: Prostate Cancer Foundation NZ Reacts

The Prostate Cancer Foundation of NZ has reacted positively to the new initiatives announced by the government to improve screening of women in Aotearoa for cervical and breast cancers. However, the charity believes that the initiatives do highlight a disparity in approaches towards different cancers by successive governments and in the health system.

"It is heartening to see the Government's willingness to listen and react to the new science around how best to protect the population from the devastating effects of cancer" says Peter Dickens, Chief Executive of the Prostate Cancer Foundation.

"The move to screening for the HPV virus in women shows that they are willing to adopt the gold standard practice already in place in other countries. However, in the case of prostate cancer, the government's approach is informed by outdated and superseded views that we believe significantly understate the benefit of screening for the disease using the PSA test."

More than 3500 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer in New Zealand every year, and over 650 die. The charity estimates that approximately 42,000 men, and their families, are living with a diagnosis of prostate cancer in the community.

The Prostate Cancer Foundation provides support and education to men and their families living with a prostate cancer diagnosis, raises awareness of the disease, advocates to improve early diagnosis of prostate cancer and also invests significantly in research into new treatments and approaches.

Dickens adds: 'We hope this indicates a new willingness by the government to review the science around the benefits of screening for prostate cancer. We hope they will move swiftly to take steps to implement changes that will eliminate the inequities that exist, improve access for at-risk men to PSA testing and ultimately improve outcomes for thousands of families every year in New Zealand."

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