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Published Friday 28 Jul 2017

Interest in bowel screening has grown since the launch of the National Bowel Screening Programme in Hutt Valley last week. Have a look at this article for some more information on the programme.

Every year more than 3,000 New Zealanders are diagnosed with bowel cancer and more than 1,200 die from it. Regular bowel screening can save lives by finding cancer early which it can often be successfully treated.

Here are some of the key facts about the programme:

Why introduce a screening programme?

New Zealand has one of the highest rates of bowel cancer in the world. Regular bowel screening can save lives by finding cancer early when it can often be successfully treated.

Who is eligible for screening?

The National Bowel Screening Programme is being offered to men and women aged 60 to 74 who are eligible for publicly funded healthcare.

What does screening involve?

If you are eligible to take part, you will be sent an invitation letter, a consent form and a free bowel screening test kit. The test is done at home, and is clean and simple to do.

When will I be invited?

Assuming you are eligible, you will receive their first invitation within two years of the programme starting in July this year. The programme will then be ongoing for eligible 60-74 year olds, who will be invited for screening once every two years.

The timing of the invitations is related to your birthdate. If your birthday is on an even date, for example 2 September, you will be invited on or about their birthday in the first year ie: September 2017. If your birthday is on an odd date, for example 3 September, you will be invited in September during the second year of the programme, in 2018.

Where can I find out more information?

The National Bowel Screening website explains the programme in more details including:

Bowel problems? Talk to your doctor.

  • Common symptoms of bowel cancer may include:
    a change to your normal pattern of going to the toilet that continues for several weeks (such as diarrhoea)
  • A feeling that your bowel doesn’t empty completely
  • Blood in your bowel motion