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PROSTABLOG NZ: The survival rate for prostate cancer patients in NZ increased more than 12% in the seven years to 2006, according to the Ministry of Health. READ MORE>

The prostate cancer survival gain is the best of five major cancer sites (prostate, breast, coloectal, cervical and lung), says the Ministry’s annual report released this week.

Maori continue to show poor results.

On cancer survival, the report says:

Cancer survival is a key outcome measure of cancer control and provides useful insights into the effectiveness of health care in detecting and treating cancer. Five-year cancer survival rates are a direct measure of the effectiveness of the health system in treating cancer.

The five-year relative survival rate has increased for all five major cancer sites.

This increase was in the region of 5–6 percent for colorectal, breast and cervical cancers and over 12 percent for prostate cancer in the seven years since 1997/98.

The survival rate for lung cancer is significantly less than for other cancer sites and has improved the least.

Survival graph

Ethnic minorities

Five-year relative survival rates show Maori at a marked disadvantage compared with the non-Maori/non-Pacific ethnic group for five selected cancer sites.

Of all ethnic groups, Pacific people show the lowest relative survival rates for female breast and cervical cancers.

Efforts to increase the number of Pacific women being screened through cancer screening programmes should help to identify greater numbers of women in need of cancer treatment in the future.

Maori survival

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JUNE 5: PROSTABLOG NZ: For the first time, thousands of New Zealanders treated for cancer will have their stories documented.

The Cancer Control Council will ask 3500 people who have been treated in the last year about their experiences as cancer patients.

There have been strong calls from the cancer sector for better information about service provision and understanding what patients expect compared to what they actually get from the health system, says council chair Dame Cath Tizard.

“We looked overseas for a credible tool to measure people’s experiences with cancer treatment and have settled on the Patient Experiences Survey conducted by (survey company) IPSOS, which is used by such countries as Canada and Australia,” she says.

“It also means we can compare New Zealand health services with those overseas.”

A first for New Zealand, the survey would give the council a benchmark and aimed to help those providing cancer treatment with some insights into service gaps and issues. 

“The Council urges all cancer patients approached by mail to take part in this survey as the more responses we get, the better understanding and insight we will have to ensure we provide better cancer treatment care in the future,” she says.

A report containing the survey results will be published on the Cancer Control Council website from late 2009.

The Cancer Control Council is a ministerial advisory committee which provides independent strategic advice to the Minister of Health on all matters relating to cancer. It says this advice is aimed at reducing the incidence and impact of cancer and reducing inequalities with respect to cancer.

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