While more and more kiwis are surviving longer with cancer the NZ medical system is not keeping up!

According to Te Aho o Te Kahu, (the Cancer Control Agency), which released its inaugural report on Tuesday, providing a snapshot on the state of cancer in New Zealand, “focused action” is needed to increase survival rates.

Our survival rates are not improving as those seen in comparable countries, the agency said. Māori are twice as likely to die from cancer than non-Māori.Lung and colorectal cancer account for most cancer deaths each year.

While cancer incidence patterns have changed “considerably” in the past 20 years, many of the same inequities persist, it found.

Approximately 25,000 Kiwis are diagnosed with cancer every year, most commonly breast, lung, prostate and colorectal (bowel) cancers.

Most people in Aotearoa now survive cancer – with 66 per cent of all patients living at least five years after diagnosis.

The report also found inequities “along every step of the cancer continuum”.

Māori are approximately 20 per cent more likely to develop cancer than non-Māori, and Pacific peoples experience higher incidence and mortality for certain cancers – such as uterine cancer – than non-Pacific.

Māori have a higher incidence of bowel cancer at ages 50 to 59 compared to non-Māori, so the programme does not provide them with the same benefits as non-Māori.

Capacity or funding issues were “not an excuse any more”.

“We still have plenty of work to do to become world leaders in cancer survival outcomes,” the agency said.

Bowel Cancer Foundation's own research programme, Early Stage K9 bowel screening research programme, will help reduce capacity issues and staffing problems associated with the National bowel screening programme. By the end of the year we envisage we will make a significant difference in this area.