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A welcome boost to Māori-led lung cancer screening programme

Around 450 Māori are diagnosed with lung cancer each year in Aotearoa, and approximately 300 die from it.

Today we, alongside Waitematā DHB and the University of Otago, welcomed a $1.96 million grant from the Global Alliance for Chronic Diseases (GACD)() (via the Health Research Council of New Zealand()) to fund the first trial of lung cancer screening in Aotearoa. The trial will focus on Māori, whose mortality rates from lung cancer are up to four times higher than other ethnic groups.

Dr Karen Bartholomew, Director of Health Outcomes says around 75 per cent of early-stage lung cancers may be curable – if caught early enough.

“The impact of screening could go a long way to eliminating the unacceptable inequities in mortality between Māori and non-Māori,” she says. “This is a Māori–led approach in collaboration with two DHBs who share a strong track record of screening and other interventions designed to support early detection and better health outcomes.”

The trial will screen up to 500 people at high risk of lung cancer, using low dose computerised tomography (LDCT) – a computerised x-ray that uses very small amounts of radiation to produce three-dimensional images to detect potentially cancerous nodules.

Results from the two-year trial will help decide whether the programme is a viable long-term option for New Zealanders.

Read more at the Health Research Council of New Zealand().

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