The Cancer Society has committed funding of just under $2m over five years to a research collaboration hosted by the University of Otago.

The Cancer Society Research Collaboration Aotearoa New Zealand/Te Rōpū Rangahau ō Te Kāhui Matepukupuku is a Cancer Society of New Zealand-funded collaboration that draws together leading cancer researchers in a comprehensive research programme on cancer prevention, care, and support.

The aim of the Research Collaboration programme is to reduce the incidence and impact of cancer in New Zealand and to reduce inequities in cancer incidence and outcomes.

The Collaboration combines leading cancer researchers working in the areas of cancer and chronic conditions, health promotion and policy, smokefree research, and the previous Social and Behavioural Research Unit. It is led by senior Otago University staff: Professors Janet Hoek and Louise Signal, Dr Richard Egan and Christina McKerchar.

Funding cancer research is one of the ways the Cancer Society makes good use of the donations provided by New Zealanders every year.

We need to see fewer cancers through better cancer prevention, and improve care and support to help with the distress it causes many New Zealanders and their whānau. New Zealand-based knowledge plays an important role in this.

New Zealand has well-documented inequities in cancer, the most significant between Māori and non-Māori. The collaboration has a particular focus on finding ways to eliminate these unfair differences.

The work focuses on cancer prevention and advancing knowledge in six research themes:

  • Cancer care and support - focuses on understanding supportive care needs and evidence about effective and equitable cancer support services.
  • Cancer communications - communicate research results and cancer knowledge to broad audiences, including policy-makers, professional colleagues, iwi, NGOs, the public sector, health promoters, and the general public.
  • Nutrition, physical activity and alcohol - the importance of maintaining a healthy body weight, limiting alcohol intake, and having a healthy diet for cancer prevention.
  • Preventing infection-related cancers - focuses on screening as a way to prevent infection-related cancers and reduce inequity.
  • Skin cancer prevention - the importance of interventions to reduce the incidence of skin cancer in Aotearoa New Zealand, with a focus on reducing inequities experienced by those of low socioeconomic status.
  • Smokefree Aotearoa - recognises the devastating effect smoking has on New Zealanders and the disproportionate burden of harm borne by Māori and people experiencing high deprivation. It aims to reduce the health inequities caused by smoking by making tobacco less appealing and less available, and by fostering Māori leadership.

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Last updated: September 30, 2021