Cancer survival rates better in Australia than NZ - research

Around 2500 New Zealanders would have survived cancer if they lived across the Tasman, according to new research published in the Lancet medical journal.

The data shows we're struggling to keep up with our trans-Tasman counterparts when it comes to survival of most cancers.

Colorectal, lung, breast, prostate and melanoma are the most common here.

The data shows Australia out-performing New Zealand when it comes to five-year survival on all of these.

Cancer Society medical director Chris Jackson says it's because there's no "10-year plan" when it comes to cancer.

"The Government's plan against cancer has got a forward horizon of one year. And how we can have any kind of planning in that context is just incredible," he says.

But we are ahead when it comes to some child cancers.

Medical oncologist Dr Richard Sullivan says that's because of centralised cancer care.

"The model of child cancer, we're world leaders in that space," he says.

"We're looking to adopt a similar model in our young adult cancer services to say 'how can we learn from that'?"

Dr Sullivan says New Zealand had clear strategies in place from the early 2000s, but has now reached a "crossroads".

"Let's not forget that we have improved, our outcomes are better than they were. So it's continuing that work but it is putting the focus on cancer services, cancer care, the whole pathway from detection, survivorship, right through to end of life care if that's required."

Health Minister David Clark says prevention, early detection and timely treatment are the key and that will be the focus of the Government.

"Will look at best practice around the world. If there are any lessons to be learnt from Australia's approach to cancer we should learn them," Dr Clark says.

He also says the Government is exploring options to improve cancer treatment and outcomes, including the possible development of a National Cancer Agency.

There are calls for a long-term plan to tackle the deadly disease after the report published in medical journal The Lancet. Source: 1 NEWS