An Australian oncologist says there is no reason why New Zealand women with advanced stages of breast cancer would have shorter survival rates and a lower quality of life than their Australian counterparts.
A report from the Breast Cancer Foundation showed that patients with advanced breast cancer die twice as fast in New Zealand as those in similar countries, such as Australia, France and Germany.
Professor Boy Boyle, professor at the University of Sydney, said that the median survival of women with breast cancer that has spread to other parts of the body is 16 months, which is much, much lower than Australia.
"I think the lack of access to the better medicines would be one of the reasons, but the report also emphasizes that women with metastatic breast cancer are often given the priority for chemotherapy because they are incurable because they do not get access to the drug quickly. tests they need, or get so much time with the oncologist, "she said.
Professor Boyle said that breast cancer groups and oncologists have been calling for New Zealand for some time to reach Australia with the number of new drugs available.
This allows the women to have a better quality of life because the newer medicines have fewer side effects than traditional chemotherapy, she said.
"Most of our women in Australia with metastatic breast cancer would run their households, go back to work, not be financially disadvantaged because they did not miss out on work and not out of pocket by covering the costs of treatment and therapies," she said. said.
The changes are feasible with sufficient effort and money, she said.
"There is no reason why New Zealand women should not expect the same quality of life and standard of living as Australian women, our populations are very similar and I think all these problems are fixable," she said.