24 Aug 2010

Drop in deaths among Maori from cervical cancer

1:59 pm on 24 August 2010

Otago University research has shown a big drop in the number of deaths from cervical cancer among Maori women.

They say analysis of 11 years of data shows Maori mortality rates from cervical cancer fell by 11% a year, compared with a 5% annual drop in the non-Maori rate.

The head of the Eru Pomare Maori Health Research Centre at the Wellington School of Medicine, Bridget Robson, says that's a significant closing of the gap.

She told Waatea News that other research has found no difference in treatment between Maori and non-Maori with cervical cancer.

"Now we need to focus on preventing Maori women from getting cervical cancer, which is through regular screening and vaccination against the HPV virus, and also to get the cancer detected early because that is the only difference between Maori and non-Maori that affects our survival," she says.

Ms Robson says the rate of Maori deaths from lung cancer is also coming down but remains three times that of non-Maori, justifying much stronger moves to cut down smoking.