Dr Jason Gurney is a Mãori epidemiologist and Deputy Director of the Cancer and Chronic Conditions (C3) Research Group, Department of Public Health, University of Otago, Wellington. Jason has expertise leading national projects in cancer, chronic condition and congenital condition epidemiology. He has particular expertise and interest in the investigation (and explanation) of inequities in health outcomes between Mãori and non-Mãori New Zealanders.
Jason is an HRC Mãori Health Research Emerging Leader Fellow, with his Fellowship aiming to improve the quantity and quality of life for Mãori with cancer. He is a board member of Hei Ahuru Mowai (the National Mãori Cancer Leadership Group), and a committee member of the Ministry of Health Tumour Standards Working group, the Ministry of Health Urological Cancers Working Group and the Ministry of Health Cancer Plan Equity Working Group.
Hard Facts and Home Truths: Inequities in cancer incidence, mortality and survival for Mãori
Cancer is the second leading cause of death for Mãori. Each year, approximately 730 Mãori men and women will die of cancer, five times more than will die of respiratory disease and almost as many as will die of cardiovascular disease. In Unequal Impact II, Robson et al. estimated that Mãori in New Zealand are nearly 80% more likely to die of cancer compared to non-Mãori (mortality rate: non-Mãori: 63 per 100,000, Mãori 112 per 100,000). Nearly a third of all cancer deaths among Mãori will be caused by lung cancer.
The abhorrent inequities in cancer survival experienced by Mãori do not require belabouring: in short, Mãori are more likely to get cancer, and once they have cancer they are less likely to survive it. No single factor can feasibly explain the magnitude of the disparities that have been observed; rather, it is more likely that a combination of patient-, cancer services- and health system-level factors at various points along the cancer survival pathway are to blame for the resulting inequities. The relative importance of each of these drivers will almost certainly differ between cancer types.
In this presentation, University of Otago epidemiologist Dr Jason Gurney (Ngapuhi) will illustrate the extent of the cancer incidence, mortality and survival inequities experienced by Mãori in New Zealand. He will also discuss the key known contributors to these inequities, and finish with some recommendations regarding how oncologists can contribute to reducing and eliminating survival disparities between Mãori and non-Mãori New Zealanders.