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National Party Statement On Prostate Cancer Welcomed

More than 4000 men are diagnosed and over 700 die from prostate cancer every year. That’s more than twice the road toll. Men’s lives matter too.

The Prostate Cancer Foundation today welcomed statements by the National Party relating to prostate cancer treatment.

“Its good to see some policy statements making commitments on prostate cancer,” Prostate Cancer Foundation Danny Bedingfield said today.

“More than 4000 men are diagnosed and over 700 die from prostate cancer every year. That’s more than twice the road toll. Men’s lives matter too.

‘Politicians can make a difference. We have been asking our politicians to commit to
 

  1. Initial pilot in at least 2 areas for all men over 50, or those men over 45 with a family history of prostate cancer, and those men over 40 who have the gene variant BRCA2.
  2. Funded availability to MRI for all men in the public sector as part of the diagnostic pathway.
  3. Funded access to trans-perineal targeted biopsy for all men in the public sector.
  4. Funded access to PSMA-PET scans to all men in the public sector so men with advanced disease do not go through unnecessary radical treatment.
  5. Leverage existing programmes (www.timetoscreen.nz) technology and other infrastructure for Bowel, breast and cervical cancers.


“It is fantastic to hear a major political party say that they “… will conduct a rapid review of the public health system to determine investment options for the delivery of modern prostate cancer management in New Zealand, including better access to ultrasound and MRI, information technology needs, and workforce shortages.”

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“This is a very welcome commitment. It will save lives.

“Men’s health matters. Whatever cancer you die from, your still dead.

“Everyone agrees that early detection of any cancer leads to better clinical outcomes and saves lives. This is why we have proposed we need an early detection pilot in Waitematā and Tairāwhiti. The implementation of a pilot scheme would be a low risk, sensible way to learn, and then scale-up from there.

“And once diagnosed we do need to have the tools, equipment, skilled people and drugs to help cancer patients have as good a quality and length of life as possible. This commitment by National is a step in the right diection for New Zealand men and their families and freinds,” Mr Beddingfield concluded.


Some background on early detection programmes in New Zealand:

Cancer kills. Early detection of cancer reduces the number of people who die from it. Whatever the circumstance, there are always better clinical outcomes if the existence of cancer is known earlier. New Zealand agrees with this and currently takes action on some cancers. For example, every year:

  1. Breast cancer: 3400 women are diagnosed, with 600 deaths. A comprehensive early detection programme was started in 2017.
  2. Colorectal cancer: 1500 women and 1700 men are diagnosed, with 1200 deaths. A comprehensive early detection programme was started in 2017.
  3. Cervical cancer: 160 women are diagnosed, with about 50 deaths. A comprehensive early detection programme was started in 1991.


And because New Zealand values lives so much, we also have a significant $61 million “Road to Zero” campaign underway seeking to reduce the number of deaths on the road to zero. In 2022, 380 people died on New Zealand roads.

And of course, the Government took significant measures to prevent deaths from Covid-19 from January 2020 till now, which has seen 2716 covid 19 deaths, and has a budget of circa $61 billion to prevent deaths and support the community. Over the same time period, around 2100 men died of prostate cancer. Many of these deaths will have been premature.

So the Government accepts it is worthwhile to invest early to save New Zealanders’ lives. BUT, when it comes to prostate cancer this appears to be ignored. Prostate cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer (apart from skin cancers) in Kiwi men – more than 4000 men are diagnosed and over 700 die from prostate cancer every year.

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