PACIFIC WOMEN BESET WITH CANCER IN NEW ZEALAND

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Uterus, thyroid cancers take toll

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Dec. 9, 2010) – New research has found Pacific women in New Zealand are three times more likely than European women to have endometrial and thyroid cancer.

[PIR editor’s note: Endometrial cancer is cancer in the lining of the Uterus. ]

Two cancer studies have been published by Otago University, one looking at cancer trends by ethnicity and wealth, and the other measuring the burden of cancer by years of lost life.

Professor Tony Blakely says there are some gains for Pacific people with cervical cancer rates halving over the past 25 years because of more effective screening campaigns.

But he says obesity and smoking are still big contributors to high rates of cancer.

"From the cancer front, the elephant in the room is still tobacco smoking. [We should do] Everything we can do to make New Zealand tobacco free and Oceania tobacco free, within the next fifteen years."

Professor Blakely says people can help themselves by participating in programmes to screen for breast, cervical and colorectal cancer, and should see a doctor if they feel unwell.

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