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Cancer is the leading cause of death in New Zealand, causing nearly 1 in 3 deaths.  The most common forms of cancer in Canterbury are colorectal, prostate, lung, breast and melanoma.

Some cancers are more likely to affect specific population groups.  Breast cancer is the most common cause of cancer registration for New Zealand women, while for men it is prostate cancer.  Lung cancer is the most common cause of cancer death overall.

Overall, age-standardised cancer incidence and death rates were significantly higher for Māori than for non-Māori during 1997-2007, and were also significantly higher for people in the most-deprived quintile than for those in the least-deprived quintile.  The reasons for this are complex but are generally the result of the wider determinants of health.

Reducing the incidence and impact of cancer in New Zealand will require a planned, systematic and co-ordinated approach, which addresses prevention, early detection and treatment.  The Government's health policy allows for the expansion of cancer control services to better address the inequalities affecting certain demographic groups. 

Read the full issue summary for cancer [PDF].