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Cancer Patients Getting More Chemotherapy

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Publicly funded chemotherapy clinics have increased 25% in two years, to just over 57,000 outpatient sessions in public hospitals in the 2009/10 year.

"This significant increase is a result of more treatments being made available for many cancers, rather than a direct increase in the incidence of cancer," Health Minister Tony Ryall says.

"This Government is committed to providing high quality cancer treatment, and this increase is a tribute to the hard-working staff in medical oncology."

The increase in chemotherapy volumes is mainly due to a larger number of people getting extra courses of chemotherapy treatment, and the introduction of new drugs, rather than an increase in the total number of new cancer cases.

Mr Ryall says, "Demand for medical oncology services will continue to increase. To meet that demand, we need to take a fresh approach to the way medical oncology is currently provided," Mr Ryall says.

The Ministry of Health is currently working with medical oncologists and district health boards to develop future ways to meet projected increases in demand. This work will also involve Health Workforce New Zealand, which has overall responsibility for planning and development of the country's health and disability workforce.

Shorter waits for cancer treatment is one of the Government's six health targets. The current target is for radiation treatment but it is also important that patients receiving chemotherapy receive treatment in a timely manner.

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