North­land bat­tles omi­nous can­cer stat

Whangarei Report - - FRONT PAGE -

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

PHOTO / JOHN STONE

Can­cer sup­port nurse spe­cial­ist Mag­gie Pren­tice ready for Daf­fodil Day on Fri­day.

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