July 06, 2023
Researchers tackle Māori cancer care
Research aimed at eradicating inequities in cancer survival for Māori has won five years of funding from the Health Research Council’s Rangahau Hauora Māori investment stream.
Epidemiologist Jason Gurney from the University of Otago in Wellington says Māori having poorer survival for 23 of the 24 most common cancers diagnosed in Aotearoa New Zealand.
His team will analyse the current state of cancer treatment and provide an evidence base for planning and directing resources towards areas of highest treatment need.
Dr Gurney says cancer survival gives a vivid picture of inequities because it starts from the point of diagnosis.
“If you have a Maori patient an d a European, a Pakeha patient, your Maori patient is less likely to survive that cancer. There’s multiple reasons why that is the case but within this programme we’re focusing specifically on access to and through cancer services – are Maori getting the surgery we need. What are those surgical services, are they prepared for the volume of Maori patients they need to serve? What does our cancer workforce look like? Because the chances are a Maori cancer patient is never going to be treated by a Maori cancer specialist,” he says.
Dr Gurney says Maori cancer patients may also want their treatment incorporated into a rongoa framework.