Better news on cancer deaths

MARYKE PENMAN
Last updated 05:00 31/08/2012
Redpath
DAFFIDOL DAY: There’s plenty on offer from The National Bank Orewa. Service consultant Paula Redpath shows some of the items.

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It's Daffodil Day. The National Bank Orewa has teddies, a raffle basket and plastic daffodils on sale. Alan Powell from the Hibiscus Coast Country Music Club and wife Lynne, who has "been through the cancer bit", are performing outside the Orewa library from around 10am to 12.30pm.

The North Shore has the lowest death rate for cancer in New Zealand.

A higher socio-economic status is partly to thank for the latest Health Ministry statistics that show the Waitemata District Health Board as having the lowest incidence, health board chief executive Dale Bramley says.

He says the Shore's high socio-economic status has had a positive impact on the results. Healthier lifestyles and better access to treatment have helped to boost the results.

"People seek treatments more rapidly and WDHB on average has a healthier population in comparison to the rest of New Zealand. A good diet and higher levels of exercise do play a part."

The Health Ministry statistics reflect results across all 21 health boards in 2009.

In 2009 there were 20,875 cancer registrations in New Zealand, a 22 per cent increase in the past decade. Cancer was the leading cause of death in New Zealand during this period, accounting for almost 30 per cent of all deaths.

The Health Ministry reported that cancer registrations and deaths were most prevalent in lower socio-economic areas.

Lung cancer was the most common cancer in these areas with around three times the number of deaths and registrations as those in higher socio-economic areas.

The most common cancer for those in the Auckland and Northern regions is breast cancer among women and prostate cancer among men although lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death.

Dr Bramley says Shore residents have access to some of the best treatments and facilities in New Zealand and rarely have to wait long for cancer treatment through the public system.

"We are constantly looking for ways to further improve access to treatment, that's partly why we are running the bowel cancer screening pilot," Dr Bramley says.

Since the pilot began last year, 13,000 people aged between 50 and 74 have been screened, picking up 12 cancers.

Go to health.govt.nz/publication/cancer-new-registrations-and-deaths-2009 to view the results.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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