Politicians asked to ‘front up’ on cancer

April 8, 2014

CANGO, an alliance of eight major cancer NGOs, is calling for political parties to commit to tackling cancer; New Zealand’s number one killer.

The CANGO cancer manifesto, launched today, identifies seven key areas in which the next government can make a profound impact on cancer in New Zealand and urges all political parties to front up to this responsibility. 

 “Cancer directly affects close to 30 % of New Zealanders - this year alone, more than 20,000 of us will be diagnosed with cancer”, says Dr Jan Pearson, spokesperson for the CANGO alliance. “Government action can make a profound impact on reducing these figures and improving outcomes for cancer patients – whether through regulation, investment in education, training, research, allocation of workforce resources. We need to know that successive governments will prioritise cancer, whatever their politics.”

Dr Pearson says the manifesto reflects the united voice of key cancer organisations working together to achieve better cancer outcomes for New Zealanders. 

 “Cancer is such a significant issue, affecting so many New Zealanders and costing the country on so many levels. In the face of an aging population, which will see cancer numbers grow exponentially, we simply can’t afford not to urgently address the country’s cancer burden.”

CANGO’s manifesto calls for intensified efforts to reduce New Zealanders’ exposure to known cancer risks.

“One in three cancer deaths is attributed to risk factors that can be modified such as smoking, alcohol, inactivity and poor diet. The next New Zealand government must accelerate legislation and prevention programmes that directly address these risks,” says Dr Pearson.  “We know that of all actions that support a healthy population, government policy makes the biggest difference to behavioural change.”

The manifesto also calls for fast-tracking of the national bowel cancer screening programme to ensure that it is completed to the deadline of late 2015 and to urgently prioritise resolving the workforce issues likely to affect its rollout.

“We know that the earlier bowel cancer is diagnosed, the better the outcomes,” says Dr Pearson.  “It’s critical that workforce capacity planning issues don’t impede the national rollout of this life-saving screening programme.”

The five other priorities detailed in CANGO’s manifesto are:

-      more equitable resource allocation across the cancer care continuum for all New Zealanders

-      urgent attention to the development and implementation of the cancer workforce plan

-      improved clinical cancer registries and data collection to support planning and management of cancer services

-      increased access to and investment in research and clinical trials so that effective treatments are developed within the New Zealand environment and more patients have the opportunity to participate

-      investment in the palliative care needs of the country’s aging population.

A copy of the CANGO Election Manifesto document: Addressing the New Zealand Cancer Burden – a critical election issue can be downloaded from: www.cancernz.org.nz.

ENDS

About CANGO

CANGO (Cancer Non-Governmental Organisations) is an alliance of eight prominent New Zealand cancer charities: Beat Bowel Cancer Aotearoa, New Zealand Breast Cancer Foundation, Cancer Society of New Zealand, New Zealand Gynaecological Cancer Foundation, Hospice New Zealand, Leukaemia & Blood Cancer New Zealand, Melanoma Foundation of New Zealand, and Prostate New Zealand.

The alliance came together in 2007 to increase collaboration across cancer charities with the shared goal of reducing the incidence and impact of cancer on New Zealand and New Zealanders.

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