You are more likely to survive cancer if you live in Australia than New Zealand.

The Cancer Society have reviewed the numbers and over 5 years, 2,500 more kiwis would have survived cancer if they lived in Australia rather than New Zealand, based on a recently released international report on cancer survival rates.

These startling revelations are from the just released third international CONCORD study, an international scientific collaboration designed to monitor trends in the survival of cancer patients world-wide. It involves 37.5 million patient outcomes from 71 countries.

Dr Chris Jackson, Medical Director from the Cancer Society, said while New Zealand has some of the better survival rates for cancer compared to developing nations, we are significantly behind Australia and Canada which shows our health system has a lot of scope for improvement.

“Progress against cancer has stalled and we’re calling for a reboot to the cancer programme.

“We have centralised cancer care for child cancers in New Zealand, in Christchurch and Starship (Auckland) and this shows in the data as we are doing better than Australia for our children, but in almost all adult cancers we have fallen behind” Dr Jackson said.

It’s not a simple fix, but there are a lot of things the Cancer Society think can be done, including development of a 10 year cancer control strategy, greater planning and coordination within the health system like Australia and Canada, fixing and rolling out the Bowel Cancer Screening programme, improving PHARMAC processes, getting back-on-track with Smokefree 2025 and action on reducing obesity.

More information

The CONCORD programme aims to establish a global surveillance of cancer survival as a metric of the effectiveness of health systems and to inform global policy on cancer control. The third cycle of CONCORD “CONCORD-3” updates the worldwide surveillance of cancer survival to 2014.

CONCORD-3 includes individual records for 37·5 million patients diagnosed with cancer during the 15-year period 2000–14. Data were provided by 322 population-based cancer registries in 71 countries and territories, 47 of which provided data with 100% population coverage.

The study includes 18 cancers or groups of cancers: oesophagus, stomach, colon, rectum, liver, pancreas, lung, breast (women), cervix, ovary, prostate, and melanoma of the skin in adults, and brain tumours, leukaemias, and lymphomas in both adults and children.

New Zealand vs Australia 5 year survival (%) for the CONCORD-3 18 cancer types

Comparisons of New Zealand and Australia Cancer Survival rates for the 5 most common cancer types.

Adopting similar measures to those in Australia would have increased the chance of surviving cancer for hundreds of New Zealanders diagnosed between 2010 and 2014.  The table above provides approximate numbers of those additional patients who would have survived New Zealand’s most common cancers 5 years after diagnosis if New Zealand had the Australian rates.

Full publication of Concord-3:

Source: Cancer Society 


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