1 Sep 2019

Men face increasing wait times for prostate cancer treatment

9:08 am on 1 September 2019

Men are experiencing longer wait times for prostate cancer treatment and a lobby group wants the disparity between District Health Boards to stop.

A test tube for a prostate cancer antigen next to a catheter and a blue ribbon (file photo)

Photo: 123RF

It is Blue September, a month to recognise prostate cancer.

Ministry of Health data has revealed a 24 percent increase in prostate cancer diagnoses between 2015 and 2017.

One in eight men will develop prostate cancer in their lifetime, with 10 men diagnosed every day and one or more dying every day.

Prostate Cancer Foundation chief executive Graeme Woodside said men were being disadvantaged because there were no targets for care.

"The abandonment of cancer treatment targets by the Labour government has left DHBs without any measurement of appropriate timelines, causing unnecessary stress and uncertainty.

"What we've seen is that there's a real disaprity growing across the country among different DHBs of the wait times and it can be from a couple of weeks through to I think the worst was about 300 days that a man would be waiting to go through the whole cancer process."

Mr Woodside said cancer patients should expect to be treated in a better timeframe than that and the disparity for care among the DHBs needed to be fixed.

Later today the government will release its much awaited cancer strategy. The contents are a closely guarded secret, with even top cancer specialists in the dark and impatient for details.

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