It is acknowledged The Lung Cancer Quality Report aims to provide information to help District Health Boards deliver consistent, high-quality cancer care.
We too understand the purpose of the report is to analyse data from District Health Boards (DHBs) against eight quality performance indicators (QPIs) to identify disparities in care and variation in outcomes.
Whilst we agree benchmarking across the DHB’s is important, we note this report does not address the lack of access to standard of care treatments for lung cancer, such as targeted therapies and immunotherapy.
Lung cancer is one of the most targetable cancers and the reality is; Access to treatment is access to life.
The treatment pathway is informed by molecular testing, however NZ has not taken all the necessary steps to test/screen for the increasing number of known lung cancer biomarkers. This in part is because Pharmac is so very slow to fund the number of individual treatments which would be life changing for patients with lung cancer.
A couple of the questions we will be asking Te Aho o Te Kahu, Cancer Control Agency;
Q. Are they pushing for access to treatments for lung cancer in the NZ public health system to be improved? Or is their focus primarily on improving early diagnosis which will take years..
Q. How can we possibly reduce / eliminate inequity (premature death), if we don’t even fund the standard of care in NZ for many different forms of lung cancer?
Infographic of lung cancer biomarkers (see how few treatments are funded in NZ by Pharmac..)
Click link to the lung cancer biomarker infographic –