June 05, 2018
Cancer care an indigenous issue
Cancer specialists form New Zealand, Australia and the Pacific have called on the World Health Organisation and governments to prioritise health improvements for indigenous peoples worldwide.
The open letter in the latest issue of the international medical journal Lancet Oncology says cancer policy needs to have a clear focus on Indigenous populations to ensure health inequities are addressed.
Professor Diana Sarfati from the University of Otago, Wellington, says it came out of an international symposium in Wellington in February that identified issues such as a lack of effective cancer prevention strategies, unequal access to cancer treatment and support services, and variable monitoring of cancer outcomes for indigenous peoples.
Dr Nina Scott from the New Zealand Maori Cancer Leadership Group Hei Ahuru Mowai says Maori have longer wait times for treatment, poorer quality of care and a much lower chance of surviving and higher risk of dying from cancer.
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