September 04, 2020
Lack of early detection ups Māori cancer mortality
A Māori epidemiologist wants to see a national lung cancer screening programme targeting Māori.
Dr Jason Gurney from the University of Otago is one of the co-authors of a paper published in today’s New Zealand Medical Journal which sets a target of 2030 for achieving equity in survival for Māori cancer patients.
It found about one in four Māori deaths are because of cancer, with lung cancer being the top killer, taking more than 300 lives a year.
One reason for that is the lack of early detection.
"People are typically diagnosed late. We want to catch it earlier so there are groups around the country looking at the feasability of a CT lung cancer screening programme but those things take years to develop so we are not ahead of the curve yet," Dr Gurney says.
Other cancers which are hard to detect, such as liver and stomach cancers, are also big killers of Māori.
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