Gut cancers are the most common form of cancer in New Zealand. The latest figures released by the Ministry of Health show that 5423 Kiwis were diagnosed with a gut cancer (cancer of the digestive system including oesophageal, stomach, liver, gallbladder & bile ducts, pancreas, bowel, and anal cancers) in 2018. 1 in 5 of all cancer diagnoses in New Zealand is a gut cancer. Sadly, survival rates for this group of cancers are low, often devastatingly so. Just 50% of Kiwis diagnosed with a gut cancer will survive beyond 5 years.
Tragically, there is also real shortage of funds to support research and clinical trials for cancers of the digestive system in New Zealand.
This March, the Gut Cancer Foundation (GCF) is addressing these statistics by asking New Zealand to ‘GIVE IT UP’ for gut cancers. Kiwis around the country are being asked to give up alcohol, sugar or the sofa for the month of March with the aim of fundraising to help researchers find new ways to detect, treat and beat these cancers. By supporting the GCF, participants are helping a number of New Zealanders access international clinical trials, as well as funding local researchers looking to answer important questions that could improve survival rates, life expectancy and quality of life for Kiwis with a gut cancer.
Liam Willis, Executive Officer at GCF says, “The GIVE IT UP campaign is a fantastic opportunity for Kiwis to support our brightest minds by raising much needed money for research, whilst simultaneously engaging in activities that could help reduce their own risk of developing a gut cancer."
But the GIVE IT UP campaign is about more than just raising funds for research, as important as that is. Willis says, “Research has shown that obesity and excessive alcohol consumption are two factors which greatly increase the risk of developing a gut cancer. Research also suggests regular exercise could help reduce the chances of developing these diseases. Asking New Zealanders to raise money for research, whilst helping to reduce their own risks makes perfect sense.”
Anyone interested in signing up to GIVE IT UP for gut cancer should visit www.giveitup.nz.
Gut Cancer Foundation