Cancer doesn’t stop, so we won’t either

26 August 2021


Provided by the Cancer Society

Daffodil Day on Friday, 27 August, symbolises hope for all New Zealanders impacted by cancer. Since 1990, we have inspired people to come together and support the Cancer Society’s work and raise awareness of cancer in New Zealand.

And unfortunately, the demand for Cancer Society services has never been higher. Every day, 71 New Zealanders are diagnosed with cancer. The number of people affected by cancer is expected to increase by 46 percent by 2040.

To confront these statistics, we need to continue to work together across the entire health landscape to lower the incidence and impact of cancer in Aotearoa.

Part of this is working in partnership with primary care and recognising the vital role that general practice in particular plays in the cancer continuum.

A wide range of health professionals have important roles, but a notable contribution comes from GPs.

“Increasingly, primary care is involved in the long-term follow-up and management of people with cancer, as cancer is now more and more a chronic disease, needing more and more primary care involvement.”

GPs are the first port of call for most individuals and their whānau when they have a health concern. They are uniquely placed to hear many people’s symptoms for the first time, assess what is happening and start investigations that lead to a cancer diagnosis. General practice then has an important role in supporting people and their whānau on their cancer journey - the continuity of care provided through general practice is particularly valuable

Cancer Society Medical Director Dr Chris Jackson (pictured) says, “General practice and primary care offer a key role in helping people navigate a complex and often confusing environment."

After a diagnosis and initial treatment for cancer, people are often returned to primary care for ongoing care. GPs are key in the post-hospital phase of survivorship, addressing physical, emotional, and practical needs as people recover from initial cancer treatments.

“Increasingly, primary care is involved in the long-term follow-up and management of people with cancer, as cancer is now more and more a chronic disease, needing more and more primary care involvement.”

The Cancer Society provides the largest number of printed publications on cancer in New Zealand. Primary care professionals widely use and contribute to our information, along with people who have had cancer.

“We’ve worked hard to demystify medical terms and processes, talking in everyday language about the impact and management of the cancer journey.

“General practice and primary care offer a key role in helping people navigate a complex and often confusing environment."

“Partnership, cross-referral and mutual support are essential elements of the relationship between the Cancer Society and primary care. And we hope to continue this long-standing relationship in the future,” ends Dr Jackson.

Dr Chris Jackson will be stepping down from his role of Medical Director at the end of August 2021.

For more information about Daffodil Day or our services, please visit cancer.org.nz or contact Linda@cancer.org.nz