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Bowel Screening Pilot Releases Latest Figures


Waitemata DHB’s Bowel Screening Pilot Releases Latest Figures

Latest figures just released from the Waitemata DHB’s BowelScreening Pilot show 33 people taking part in the screening have been found to have bowel cancer.

The four year programme is being offered free to Waitemata DHB residents aged 50-74 who are eligible for publicly funded healthcare. A decision on whether screening for bowel cancer should be rolled out nationally will be made at the end of that period.

Bowel cancer is the second most commonly diagnosed cancer overall for both men and women in New Zealand, and the second leading cause of death from cancer, killing 100 people a month. International studies show a bowel screening programme can save lives through early diagnosis and intervention.

Speaking at the New Zealand Society of Gastroenterology’s annual meeting in Hamilton, the BowelScreening Pilot’s Clinical Director, Mr Mike Hulme-Moir, told delegates there has been a participation rate of 53.9% in the pilot so far, a pleasing result compared with the same stage of similar programmes internationally.

“The goal is to achieve 60 percent uptake by the end of the pilot. Uptake in established international bowel screening programmes ranges from below 50 percent in Australia, to around 60 percent in parts of the UK,” he says.

Mr Hulme-Moir says the pilot has now been running for one year. Latest figures to the end of September 2012 show;
• 22852 samples have been returned
• there have been 1456 positive results
• 962 follow-up colonoscopies have been performed
• 704 of these people had polyps detected or removed
• 35 cancers have been detected in 33 people

Mr Hulme-Moir says that information to date shows that both men and women in the Waitemata DHB area are responding well to the invitations to participate in the pilot.

He attributes this in part to the support shown to the pilot from General Practitioners.

“This is the first invitation-based screening programme ever carried out in this country and the first to involve General Practitioners in the screening process. They have done a great job so far of supporting the pilot.”

Mr Hulme-Moir says bowel cancer can be present with few or even no warning signs or symptoms.

“Symptoms may include blood in your bowel motion or changes in your normal pattern of going to the toilet that continue for several weeks, for example: diarrhoea, constipation or a feeling your bowel doesn’t empty completely. If you have symptoms see your doctor now,” says Mr Hulme-Moir.

For further information on the Waitemata DHB bowel screening programme, call the co-ordination centre on 0800 924 432 or visit


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