9 Dec 2010

High cancer rate for Pacific Island women in NZ - study

8:28 pm on 9 December 2010

Pacific Island women in New Zealand are three times more likely than Pakeha women to have endometrial and thyroid cancer, according to new research.

Two cancer studies have been published by the University of Otago: one looking at cancer trends by ethnicity and wealth and the other measuring the burden of the disease by years of lost life, Radio New Zealand International reports.

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 Professor Blakely says obesity and smoking are still big contributors to high rates of cancer and if everything was done to make New Zealand and Oceania tobacco-free within the next 15 years, the incidence of cancer would be reduced by as much as a third.