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Cancer screening centrepiece of National policy

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National’s health spokesperson says low dose CT scanning could make a huge impact on cancer rates among Māori.

The party has released its health policy, including setting up a new cancer agency and getting DHBs to hurry up the roll out of bowel screening.

Shane Reti says a lung cancer screening programme was one of the recommendations of the Māori affairs select committee inquiry into health inequalities.

It’s one of the most common cancers in New Zealand, especially for Māori because of high smoking rates.

"And we know overseas low dose CT scanning, sort of like a mammogram, can pick up early lung cancers at a stage where you can actually do something about it, because the reality is most lung cancers by the time you have got them, they have either got too big and they in local space, or they have metasticised, they’ve spread," Dr Reti says.

After spending several years developing the policy, he was encouraged by a research paper published this week by Waitematā DHB validating low dose CT scanning.

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