Source: Bowel Cancer New Zealand
Plan for full rollout of bowel cancer screening
programme - a positive decision
Bowel Cancer New Zealand welcomes the budget announcement today
of a plan to fully implement a national bowel cancer screening
programme. The nationwide charity for bowel cancer patients and
whānau has been calling for the introduction of a screening
programme since 2010.
"Today's announcement will begin to turn around our world-worst
bowel cancer death rates", says Sarah Derrett, Bowel Cancer New
The budget announced screening will follow the Waitemata DHB
region pilot and will introduce screening throughout the remaining
19 DHB regions over the coming 4 years commencing in 2017.
"If New Zealand had the same rates as Australia there would be
350 fewer deaths from bowel cancer each and every year in New
Zealand" says Derrett. Australia is already a decade ahead of us in
introducing a national bowel cancer screening programme.
"Bowel cancer death rates are reducing in Australia; meanwhile,
in New Zealand, we have had no such improvement. Today's decision
will begin to turn this around - but it is disappointing to hear
that the wait is 5 years away for a full implementation and that
those aged 50-59 will miss out".
International best practice is to screen those aged 50-74 years
of age. While we wait for full nationwide implementation across
this age range lives will continue to be needlessly lost.
Each year 1200 lives are lost due to bowel cancer in New
Zealand. It is our most common cancer, killing as many people as
breast and prostate cancers combined, and four times our national
road toll. "Today's announcement is a welcome, albeit long-overdue
response to this national crisis," says Derrett.
In the Waitemata DHB region, where the ministry of health have
been running a successful pilot screening programme, more than 300
people have been diagnosed with bowel cancer as a consequence of
screening, and thousands found with polyps or adenomas, which are
can be removed before they become cancerous.
"All New Zealanders aged 50-74 years (where best-evidence
supports screening) should have access to such screening," says
Derrett. Now the decision has been made we need to move swiftly and
efficiently to provide all New Zealanders with screening as soon as
Bowel Cancer New Zealand (BCNZ) has been calling for the
introduction of a national screening programme since 2010. If you
have symptoms of bowel cancer please consult your GP. Symptoms
• Bleeding from the bottom or seeing blood in the toilet after a
• Change of bowel motions over several weeks without returning
• Persistent or periodic severe pain in the abdomen;
• A lump or mass in the abdomen;
• Tiredness and loss of weight for no particular reason;
More information on bowel cancer and BCNZ can be found