A study just released from the Cancer Society claims thousands of New Zealanders would have survived cancer if they lived in Australia.

It says 2500 would have beaten cancer if they were treated across the ditch.

Dr Chris Jackson, Medical Director of the Cancer Society says the call for more action is all the more relevant and urgent with the disproportionate number of Māori who fall victim to cancer.

“Māori do bear the heavy burden of cancer incidents and also they do have, Māori have worse cancer outcomes once diagnosed as well. So there's a lot we need to do in terms of prevention.”

Dr Jackson also says research by the Cancer Society shows Australia is ahead of us when it comes to treating cancer.

“Australia is more organised than we are. I think they've got a ten-year cancer plan which we just don't have. And we need strong central leadership in terms of cancer in early prevention, detection and treatment.”

But Māori doctor, Rawiri Jansen, says we have to be careful when comparing the two countries.

“Ehara i te kōrero kei te mōhio pai a Ahitereiria te whakatika te mate pukupuku i waenga i te iwi taketake i reira me tō rātou white Australia kei te pērā tonu i konei me whakarite tuatahi i waenga i te iwi Māori me te iwi Pākehā i konei.”

Dr Janson does support a national cancer strategy.

“Ki te kore tātou e tīmata kei whea tātou i te tekau tau nō reira koia tērā te raru mō Māori mō tētahi tekau tau e mahi ana engari kāore anō kia tīmata me tēnei kaupapa.”

Dr Jackson says the challenge will be where to start as there are many issues to deal with.

“For many Māori New Zealanders, they have long distances to travel from their own communities to specialist centres for advanced scans and test that mean time off work. That might mean people taking them to their scans and tests and whānau support.”

It is hoped that some action will happen sooner rather than later.