About 2500 New Zealanders would have beaten cancer in the last five years if they had lived in Australia, new research has found.

The figures come from the Cancer Society's review of a recently released international report on cancer survival rates - the third international CONCORD study.

The study is an international scientific collaboration designed to monitor trends in the survival of cancer patients world-wide and involves 37.5 million patient outcomes from 71 countries.

Cancer Society medical director Dr Chris Jackson said while New Zealand had some of the better survival rates for cancer compared to developing nations, we were significantly behind Australia and Canada which showed the health system had a lot of scope for improvement.


"Progress against cancer has stalled and we're calling for a reboot to the cancer programme.

"We have centralised cancer care for child cancers in New Zealand, in Christchurch and Starship (Auckland) and this shows in the data as we are doing better than Australia for our children, but in almost all adult cancers we have fallen behind."

Jackson said there were a lot of things that could be done to improved the situation, including the development of a 10-year cancer control strategy, greater planning and co-ordination within the health system, fixing and rolling out the Bowel Cancer Screening programme, improving Pharmac processes, getting back on track with Smokefree 2025 and action on reducing obesity.