Report focus on equity

Public health experts and providers are throwing their weight behind the recommendations in the Cancer Prevention report released by Te Aho o Te Kahu, the Cancer Control Agency this month.

The aim of the report says Te Aho o Te Kahu chief executive Professor Diana Sarfat is to create environments that help whānau live long healthy lives, free of cancer. “We know environments heavily influence the decisions people make. Given this, we want environments that make the healthy choice, the easiest choice.”

Selah Hart

HPF Board member and Hāpai Te Hauora CEO Selah Hart says the recommendations clearly have the potential to improve health equity and health outcomes for Māori.

“The report is very explicit that the burden of cancer in Aotearoa is unfair and affects Māori at greater rates than Pākehā New Zealanders. Inaction on the evidence would be an effective breach of Te Tiriti. Māori and iwi providers are working hard to prevent cancer in their own communities, but we those efforts to be better supported by the state.” 

Report lead and public health physician Dr Nisha Nair adds that Pūrongo Ārai Mate Pukupuku has a strong focus on equity. “If we are to really tackle cancer inequities, prevention is our most powerful tool.”

Professor Boyd Swinburn

Health Coalition Aotearoa Chair (HCA), Professor Boyd Swinburn, who was an expert-reviewer of the report says this is the most comprehensive suite of recommendations to prevent Kiwis dying of cancer to date.

“These recommendations in six key areas are evidence-based and represent a clear policy suite the Government should urgently follow to prevent the harm and grief of cancer in Aotearoa. We are pleased the Smokefree Action Plan is aligned with these recommendations, but there are many areas where nothing is moving, and the time cost can be measured in lives predictably lost.”

The report focuses on six key areas: tobacco, alcohol, poor nutrition and excess body weight, insufficient physical activity, excessive exposure to ultraviolet radiation and chronic infections.

Read the full report HERE.