Public health experts and providers are putting their collective weight behind the recommendations of the Cancer Prevention Report released by Te Aho o Te Kahu, the Cancer Control Agency.
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 date to prevent Kiwis dying of cancer.
“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. The cost of inaction can be measured in lives predictably lost.
“In particular, the recommendations for better nationwide alcohol policy, and action on nutrition, including restricting children’s exposure to junk food marketing are measures Health Coalition Aotearoa has been calling for over several years. The new health structures being set up by Pae Ora must be empowered as the mechanism to enact these recommendations, as soon as possible.”
HCA 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 need those efforts to be better supported by the state.”
“Health experts stand ready to work with the Government to roll out these recommendations,” Professor Swinburn says. “Whether this happens will be a measure of how seriously decision-makers take health science and the moral imperative to stop cancer harming Kiwi families.”