Cancer needs to be the next cab off the rank

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The Cancer Society welcomes the Government’s first wellbeing budget but say it falls short of what is needed to address current shortfalls in cancer care and treatment for New Zealanders.

“There are some positive initiatives in the budget. These include extending the bowel cancer screening programme and increasing the baseline funding for DHBs,” says Shayne Nahu, Cancer Society Advocacy and Wellbeing Manager (Te Arawa, Tainui, Irish).

“What is disappointing is the very small increase in the funding of PHARMAC with no attention to the consideration of an early access scheme.

“Additional funding for health workforce development and whānau-centred approaches to primary healthcare has the potential to positively impact the care of cancer patients.

“Government have addressed their priority of additional frontline services in mental health support but cancer will need to be a priority in the future.

The Government has committed to developing a cancer action plan. This plan will need considerable investment and we expect it will be a priority in future year’s budgets.

Cancer Society say cancer deaths are estimated to increase from just 10,000 in 2015 to over 15,000 by 2035 and comment that New Zealand needs to prioritise our cancer-care systems in a planned and co-ordinated way.

“We need to invest significantly in this space and we will need to do it smarter:

  • More in preventing cancer and reducing risk which accounts for around 30% of cancers. This will also reduce many other health issues: diabetes, heart conditions, stroke
  • Increased investment in the workforce
  • Investing in innovative and better cancer treatments
  • Supporting patients and whānau while they have cancer.”