New Zealand's cancer treatment needs to change across the country - cancer director

New Zealand's cancer treatment lacks coherency across the country, New Zealand's new cancer control director says.

It comes after a new study published in The Lancet found New Zealand is falling behind other countries in terms of survival from some cancers.

Out of the seven countries studied, a pancreatic cancer diagnosis in New Zealand carries the lowest chance of survival after one year.

Only 15.5 percent of patients diagnosed with lung cancer between 2010-2014 in New Zealand survived for five years after diagnosis.

The other countries in the study were Australia, Canada, Denmark, the UK, Ireland and Norway.

National director of cancer control Diana Sarfati told The AM Show over the past few years, our rate of care improvement has fallen behind other countries.

"What we haven't tended to do is have some sort of structured organisational approach where we can make sure we are keeping up with all of those new ways of doing things.

"Also, what we haven't done so well is have a sort of quality improvement approach, so looking to see where the gaps are and making sure those gaps are addressed before they become problems."

Sarfati said care across the country is uneven and that needs to be addressed to ensure patients can access specialist care.

"We need to look at where specialist services are located for the cancers, where highly specialised services are required and make sure we've got those working correctly and in order to do that you need to take a national approach."


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