New Zealand has worse survival for bowel cancer than comparable countries


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An international study out today shows there is plenty of work to be done to improve advanced bowel cancer survival rates in New Zealand. 

5-year survival from colon and rectal cancers was higher in Australia and Canada, intermediate in Demark and Norway, and lower in Ireland, New Zealand and the UK.

“This research shows us that early detection (such as bowel screening), early access to diagnostic tests and timely access to effective treatment, have made a big difference for patient outcomes overseas,” says Dr Chris Jackson, Cancer Society Medical Director and Oncologist. 

While the health system works quickly to address the delays caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, this study also highlights the importance of bowel screening and how vital it is that screening is rolled out nationally as soon as possible, to improve early stage detection.

New Zealand has worse access to cancer drugs than Australia so another way to reverse this trend is to allow people timely and fair access to medicines and treatments that are available in other countries

“PHARMAC need to move faster when new treatments become available so New Zealanders can receive the same benefits as cancer patients in Australia” says Jackson.

Read the study here: https://gut.bmj.com/content/early/2020/06/01/gutjnl-2020-320625.full