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Prostate cancer conference to look at inconsistent diagnosis and treatment

Press Release – Prostate Cancer Foundation
The Prostate Cancer Foundation NZ (PCFNZ) is calling for a more streamlined approach to deal with inconsistencies and disparities around the diagnosis and treatment of prostate cancer nationwide.

At its annual conference in Wellington inMay, the line-up of speakers has been selected specifically to generate insights and forge meaningful discussions for future management strategies.

PCFNZ National Conference 2018 is being held at Te Papa on Sunday 6 May. The professional line-up of speakers includes urologists Drs Rod Studd and Madhu Koya. Population Health Analyst Dr Barry Smith and public health researcher Professor Vili Nosa. Nurse Jenny Corban from Taranaki will also be presenting on the innovative exercise programme she has developed to prostate cancer patients.

“While there is no ‘one size fits all’ approach we would like to explore the opportunity for a more streamlined approach to men getting tested, and fewer inconsistencies when considering a range of treatment options for prostate cancer,” says Graeme Woodside, PCFNZ CEO.

“There have been some significant advances in the diagnosis and treatment of prostate cancer over the years, but there continue to be disparities in the ways men are checked and treated, particularly in rural and remote areas. In addition, Maori men continue to fare poorly in survival statistics,” he said. “Getting all these people in a room is the first step to explore these themes, effect change and make a difference to the lives of the men and their families living with prostate cancer.”

Dr Barry Smith, Population Health Analyst and health ethicist with the Lakes DHB in Rotorua, says Maori men feature poorly in the prostate cancer survival rates, often visiting their GP late in the piece when treatment options are more limited.

“The health sector faces some significant challenges and dealing with health inequality is recognised as one of them. Not all parts of our population are equal in terms of health status and the key differences are evident when you compare health data collected for Maori with that of non-Maori or New Zealand European. It’s critical to acknowledge and have serious conversations about these disparities.”

“All New Zealanders live longer now than we did 100 years ago but there remains a difference in life expectancy at birth of seven or eight years between Maori and non-Maori populations. Things are getting better, but in the main Maori aren’t catching up. It’s great there’s improvement but the continuing existence of gaps like the ones just noted is both frustrating and challenging to deal with,” he says. In respect of prostate cancer, “Maori and Pasifika men present a challenge to the health system to generate greater awareness around the condition that could result in increased rates of routine health checks that also cover the prostate. Showing up earlier could save their life.”

PCFNZ’s National Conference 2018 is being held at Te Papa Museum on Sunday 6 May, and is open to both medical professionals and members of the public. The Register now at www.prostate.org.nz or by calling 0800 477 678.

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