Bowel screening programme crucial, says Minister

Health minister Andrew Little. Photo: RNZ / Nate McKinnon.

Health Minister Andrew Little says the Government’s National Bowel Screening Programme is saving lives.

More than 1000 New Zealanders have had bowel cancer – New Zealand’s second-most-common cause of death from cancer - detected under the Screening Programme.

The screening programme aims to save lives by catching it early, giving patients a greater chance of survival. More than 1200 New Zealanders died from bowel cancer in 2017.

“New Zealand has one of the highest rates of bowel cancer in the developed world and that’s why we need this programme,” says Little.

“This country records 100 deaths a month from bowel cancer. The programme is starting to reduce that toll. Thirty-nine per cent of the cancers found have been in the early stages, where there is a 95 per cent chance of patients living at least another five years.

“On top of that, the programme has led to hundreds of people having pre-cancerous polyps removed, saving more lives.”

The National Bowel Screening Programme started in 2017 and is the first cancer-screening programme offered to both men and women.

It targets people aged 60 to 74, the age group most at risk from bowel cancer, and is now offered by 17 of the 20 district health boards and is set to go live in the Bay of Plenty next month.

“We’ve already spent $197 million on the programme, and Budget 2021 allocated $50.6 million over four years to bring in the remaining three districts,” says Little.

“Once it is fully rolled out, the programme will screen about 700,000 people every two years.

“Everyone who gets a bowel-cancer test kit in the mail should use it. The test is easy to do and takes just a few minutes. It could save your life.”

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Posted on 29-07-2021 20:16 | By Let's get real

Just trying to work out how many years this crucial roll-out has taken.... How can this collection of disparate misfits take credit for achieving anything whilst maintaining a straight face. No doubt we’ll hear more and more spin until the next election, when the chequebook will come out along with the half truths.

complete treatment.

Posted on 29-07-2021 20:00 | By hapukafin

OK Minister,What are you going to do about it for those who have bowel cancer or secondary cancer.I have secondary cancer and the chemo drugs wont control my tumours any more.I have been taken off chemo and discharged from the hospital to fend for myself at home till I die ,is this what you want Minister because Pharmac wont make available the drugs I need.Screening for bowel cancer isnt much use if you dont go through with the treatment.You might as well stop the screening if you are not going to give full treatment and spend your valuable money elswhere.and just let people die earlier.

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