Call for more breast cancer research funds
The Government needs to guarantee funding to keep "vital" breast cancer research going, a surgeon says.
The Canterbury Breast Cancer Register (CBCR) has presented its first-year findings to the New Zealand Medical Journal.
The register collects patients' information from diagnoses to treatment and outcomes.
In the same edition of the journal, Ian Campbell, a breast surgeon and professor, said Canterbury's register was one of four in the country facing an uncertain future because of funding changes.
He said the groups, in Auckland, Waikato, Wellington and Canterbury, were funded by the New Zealand Breast Cancer Foundation (NZBCF).
"[The foundation] is unable to continue this funding and there is an urgent need to consolidate these databases on a new platform to ensure their survival," he wrote.
The health minister had been persuaded to commit funding to this process, but "the registers remain under threat".
Campbell said cancer survival rates were 20 per cent worse in New Zealand than in Australia.
"It is essential to have detailed data . . . to examine why that might be. It is vital that the detailed data present in the current [registries] survives and prospers to illuminate us all," he said.
NZBCF chief executive Evangelia Henderson said Health Minister Tony Ryall had agreed to partly fund the registers.
"This is a great step in the right direction but it's the long-term, sustainable funding that we are a little concerned about."
From 2009 to 2010, the Canterbury register collected information from 337 patients, including one man.
More than 70 per cent were between the age of 40 and 69.
Data co-ordinator for the group Valerie Davey said about 94 per cent of breast cancer patients had consented to having their information recorded on the register.
"This is a really good take-up rate . . . and since 2009, when the register was established, until when we wrote the paper on the first-year findings we had 750 patients on the register."
She said the registers should come under Health Ministry funding.
"That way we can prove our worth, communicate with each other better and report back to the ministry."
- © Fairfax NZ News
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