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Cancer Society Welcomes Prevention Report But Urges Investment From Government

Today, on World Cancer Day, Te Aho o Te Kahu, the Cancer Control Agency has released Pūrongo Ārai Mate Pukupuku Cancer Prevention Report. The report is welcomed by the Cancer Society as it provides a blueprint for how lives can be saved while reducing stress on the health system but raises questions around Government funding of prevention.

The report addresses risk factors for cancer such as tobacco, alcohol, UV, inactivity and unhealthy food along with other measures. Dr George Laking, Medical Director of Cancer Society of New Zealand says:

“We are extremely pleased to see the release of the much-anticipated but long-overdue report from Te Aho o Te Kahu. It is a significant milestone that establishes a pathway through a list of evidence-based interventions that, if resourced and delivered by Government, will save lives.”

“The next hurdle will be ensuring that these interventions are resourced. Currently, we only spend approximately 3% of the health budget on health prevention. By failing to invest in prevention, New Zealanders are ultimately paying a much higher cost, both personally and economically.”

The Cancer Society is also pleased to see a focus in this report on the prevention and early treatment of infections that cause cancers - this area has been neglected despite the fact that vaccines and early treatments are available, for example HPV and Hepatitis B immunisation, in addition not many people are aware of their link to cancer.

“We acknowledge the significant strides the Government has made for example in tobacco control, but there is much more that needs to be accomplished. Overall, we cannot continue to fall behind, particularly with rising cancer diagnosis and increasing costs of care. A model where we invest so little in prevention is unsustainable and means the costs of cancer care and medications will increase beyond our ability to afford it,” ends Dr Laking.

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