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Tony Ryall

4 February, 2013

Minister thanks clinicians on World Cancer Day

On World Cancer Day, Health Minister Tony Ryall would like to thank health professionals for their hard work and commitment to providing New Zealanders with better and faster cancer services.

“Cancer is one of our biggest killers, and being diagnosed with cancer is difficult for patients and their families,” says Mr Ryall.

“All patients ready for treatment are now receiving their radiotherapy and chemotherapy cancer treatment within the four week international gold standard. Only a few years ago, some patients were waiting up to 15 weeks to start their radiation treatment and many had to travel to Australia.

“This government is committed to improving cancer services and in last year’s budget invested an additional $33 million to further reduce wait times and deliver better services.

“The majority of our 40 dedicated cancer nurses will start their new role by the end of the month. These nurses will coordinate care and support for patients and their families throughout the course of their cancer treatment.

“We want patients to have faster access to a specialist once cancer is suspected, and then faster access to treatment once there is a confirmed diagnosis. District health boards have started collecting extra data throughout a patient’s treatment to identify where they can make improvements.

“We have also focused on helping New Zealanders reduce their risk of developing cancer. We have introduced the largest increase in tobacco taxes, more women are participating in national screening programmes and hospital and primary care clinicians are offering smoking cessation support to patients.”