Northland battles ominous cancer stat
More staff have been put on the ground in Northland to curb the highest cancer mortality rate of any New Zealand region.
Cancer Society Northland manager Jenni Moore said breast, prostate, lower gastrointestinal, melanoma and lung cancer were the region’s top cancers.
“In comparison with the other DHB areas in the northern region, our cancer registration rate is the worst for prostate cancer, and our mortality rate is worst in all of them.”
To reduce the region’s cancer mortality rate, the Cancer Society has joined forces with four Ma¯ori health providers in Northland.
Three extra cancer support nurse specialists and two more community support workers have been employed part-time, based out of Te Hiku Hauora, Ki A Ora Nga¯tiwai, Te Hau Ora O Nga¯puhi, and Te Ha Oranga O Nga¯ ti Wha¯ tua.
“It’s meaning we’re actually got more people out across Northland,” Moore said.
The new services will be available to anyone in the region living with a cancer diagnosis, whether Ma¯ ori or non-ma¯ ori.
The incidence rate of cancer in Northland is 348 per 100,000 of the population, compared with 338 per 100,000 of population across New Zealand.
The mortality rate in Northland is 137 per 100,000 of the population, compared to 120 per 100,000 across the country.
Cancer identification, treatment and care outcomes are worse for Ma¯ori and those in largely rural areas, such as Northland.
Ma¯ ori make up 27.8 per cent of the Northland population and 13.5 per cent of the national population.
Meanwhile, 39 per cent of the Northland population is classified as most deprived while 19 per cent of the overall population is classified as most deprived.
Moore said the nurses rang and visited people in their homes to give them information as well as allay fears and worries.
“It’s really really important — those patients who get that care appreciate having someone on the end of the phone.”
Moore said among the biggest problems Northlanders faced in getting to their treatment was transport and accommodation.
“Sometimes people can have real financial issues around getting their treatment.”
The money raised from Friday’s Daffodil Day funds support staff and service and Domain Lodge in Auckland, where cancer patients stay while receiving treatment. Moore said everyone had, or knew someone, who had been affected by cancer and she encouraged them to donate on Daffodil Day.
“We can provide that ongoing support for people when they need it.”
■ To find out more about Daffodil Day, go to daffodilday.org.nz
Cancer support nurse specialist Maggie Prentice ready for Daffodil Day on Friday.