Cancer programme

The Ministry leads a national work programme which provides a strategic focus for cancer control, and for system-wide improvements across the spectrum of cancer services.

Cancer is a major health issue for New Zealanders. One in three New Zealanders will have some experience of cancer, either personally or through a relative or friend.

Cancer is the country’s leading cause of death (28.9 percent) and a major cause of hospitalisation.

In 2010, 21,235 people were diagnosed with cancer in New Zealand and 8593 people died from the disease. In that year, prostate cancer and bowel cancer were the most commonly diagnosed cancers (2988 registrations for each cancer), followed by breast cancer and melanoma. Lung cancer was the leading cause of cancer death, followed by bowel, breast and prostate cancers.

Reducing the burden of cancer in our community is one of the Government’s priority areas.

Since 2008, the Ministry of Health has led a systematic and co-ordinated approach to cancer control through a national work programme involving District Health Boards (DHBs) and regional cancer networks. The national programme provides a strategic focus for cancer control and for system-wide improvements across cancer services.


Latest updates

20 Dec 2013: Tumour standards

1 Oct 2013: National Cancer Programme: Work Plan 2013/14

23 May 2013: Prostate Cancer Awareness and Quality Improvement Programme: Improving outcomes for men with prostate cancer released.


In this section

  • The priority of the Bowel Cancer Programme is to strengthen bowel cancer services across the country so they can effectively meet both the current demand and increased demand in the future. Read more
  • The Ministry is working with the health sector to ensure patients have timely access to appointments, tests which detect cancer and cancer treatment. Read more
  • There are four regional cancer networks in New Zealand that work across organisational boundaries to promote a collaborative approach to service planning and delivery. Read more
  • New Zealand has developed a Cancer Control Strategy, which sets principles and goals to guide existing and future actions to control cancer. The Action Plan describes in detail how the objectives of the Strategy will be achieved. Read more
  • Supportive care aims to improve the quality of life for people with cancer, their family and whānau through support, rehabilitation and palliative care. Read more
  • Publications relating to cancer in New Zealand. Read more
  • Updates from the National Cancer Programme, covering the Faster Cancer Treatment programme, the Medical Oncology Models of Care project, radiation oncology, the National Child Cancer Network, the Bowel Cancer programme, and palliative care. Read more