From RNZ

TVNZ has apologised after members of a patient advocacy group raised concerns about the name of their documentary series How Not To Get Cancer.

Troy Elliot, whose wife has stage four breast cancer, says the name of the show is offensive.

He told RNZ his wife had always exercised and never smoked but still got cancer and said many people had boycotted the programme.


"I had to actually look at it twice and even rewind to see if that was actually the name. I felt it was just designed for shock value," Elliot said.

He complained to TVNZ but didn't realise that a show had to go to air first before a complaint to broadcasting standards could be lodged.

"That was one of the concerns that we had to start with.

"I then got involved with the patient advocacy groups which we're a part of just to get some discussion going and see if I'm alone in thinking that this name is offensive. The reality is I'm not alone and a lot of people are quite offended by it."

Many people he'd spoke to boycotted the show because of its title, he said.

"We've also even had some cases of a woman who had to deal with her child actually asking questions like 'Mummy, how come you didn't decide not to get cancer? And how come you didn't not get cancer?' And these kinds of questions are actually really difficult for parents and families to actually deal with.

"That sort of discussion is actually quite scary. That it had to happen off a TV show like that."

In a statement, TVNZ said it was listening to feedback from their viewers on the title and apologised for any unintentional upset.


It said the programme recognised that cancer could affect anyone and the content of the show focused on lifestyle changes people could make to mitigate some risks.

The statement added that the programme in no way placed any blame.