This report includes data up to December 2022. Overall, these data show similar patterns to that seen in the previous COVID-19 and Cancer Services report (data up to September 2022).
Cancer registrations for 2022 were increased compared to pre-pandemic years (2018/19), including for Māori, however when comparing 2022 to 2021, there was a small decrease in registrations of 3% for Māori.
Gastrointestinal endoscopy volumes were increased in 2022 compared to 2018/19. Bronchoscopy and CT lung biopsy volumes were both decreased in 2022 compared with 2018/19, noting that there are other modes of diagnosis that may be being used during the pandemic.
For the four cancer surgeries included in the report (mastectomy, colorectal cancer, lung cancer and prostate cancer surgeries), there was a small 2% decrease for 2022 compared with 2018/19, however with an increase of 5% for Māori. The previous report included a focus section on lung cancer for Māori and this report shows that for lung cancer there was a 5% increase in lung cancer surgery with a 12% decrease for Māori (noting small numbers).
Overall, for medical oncology, radiation oncology and haematology, it appears that the differences compared to 2018/19 are slightly less pronounced compared to the winter months of 2022. For medical oncology in 2022 there were increases in first specialist assessments (FSAs) and for attendances for IV chemotherapy when compared with 2018/19 although a small decrease in IV chemotherapy attendances when compared to 2021.
For radiation oncology in 2022 there was an increase in FSAs including for Māori. There was a small decrease of 1% in completed radiation courses, which is likely to better reflect service volume over time compared to radiation therapy attendances. For haematology in 2022 there was a 1% decrease in FSAs overall and for Māori a 9% increase. For IV chemotherapy attendances for haematology there was a 5% increase compared to 2018/19, although a 5% decrease compared with 2021.
These results support the premise that cancer care staff are working diligently to ensure the continuation of cancer care in Aotearoa New Zealand. Te Aho o Te Kahu continues to work with the sector toward constant improvement in service delivery and will monitor and investigate downturns in this delivery, with a particular focus on equity. Te Aho o Te Kahu is reviewing the utility of ongoing reporting.