A life-extending treatment for prostate cancer is now being publicly funded.
Studies have shown the medicine, Zytiga, can extend the life of advanced prostate cancer patients by an average of four-and-a-half months and can reduce the risk of death by 26 percent.
Pharmac began funding the drug yesterday.
About 3000 new cases of prostate cancer are diagnosed in New Zealand every year.
Cancer Society medical director Chris Atkinson, an oncologist, said he had seen great results from Zytiga's use.
He said it did not work for everybody but for those patients who did respond, they could maintain a better quality of life for longer.
Prostate Cancer Foundation chief executive Graeme Woodside said it was great to see its use widened and it has made the drug accessible to many of those who could not afford to fund the drug themselves.