Health experts back powerful cancer prevention report

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 (HCA) chairman Prof Boyd Swinburn, who was an expert reviewer of the report, said it was the most comprehensive set of recommendations to date to stop Kiwis dying cancer.

“These recommendations in six key areas are evidence-based and represent a suite of clear policies that government should urgently pursue to prevent cancer damage and heartache in Aotearoa. We are delighted that the Smoke-Free Action Plan is aligned with these recommendations, but there are many where nothing is happening.The cost of inaction can be measured in predictably lost lives.

“In particular, recommendations for better national alcohol policy and actions on nutrition, including restricting children’s exposure to junk food marketing are measures that the Aotearoa Health Coalition has been calling for ever since. several years. The new health structures put in place by Pae Ora must be empowered as a mechanism to enact these recommendations, as soon as possible.”

Selah Hart, HCA board member and CEO of Hāpai Te Hauora, says the recommendations clearly have the potential to improve health equity and health outcomes for Maori. “The report is very explicit that the burden of cancer in Aotearoa is unfair and affects Maori at higher rates than New Zealanders in Pākehā. Failure to act on the evidence would be an effective breach of Te Tiriti. Maori and iwi providers are working hard to prevent cancer in their own communities, but we need these efforts to be better supported by the state.”

“Health experts are ready to work with the government to roll out these recommendations,” Professor Swinburn said. “Whether or not that happens will be a measure of how seriously policymakers take the health sciences and the moral imperative to prevent cancer from harming Kiwi families.

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