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Patient Group hits back at Bowel Cancer Test Kit Criticism

Friday 8 Apr 2011

Patient Group hits back at NZMA Criticism of Bowel Cancer Test Kits

“Status quo not an option” – Chairperson

Today BowelScreen AotearoaTM has been launched. This is a collaborative initiative between Beat Bowel Cancer Aotearoa, Bowel Cancer Australia and Pharmacy Brands, and sees for the first time in New Zealand an opportunity for bowel cancer screening kits to be purchased over the counter at your local pharmacy.

Beat Bowel Cancer Aotearoa Chairperson Dr Sarah Derrett responded to criticism from the New Zealand Medical Association:

“The status quo approach to bowel cancer screening has not served us well. Over 100 New Zealanders die each month from bowel cancer – one of the worst death rates in the OECD, and three times the national road toll. Despite this New Zealand has been one of the slowest countries to respond to the need for a screening programme. We cannot bury our heads in the sand and pretend that this is not an issue”.

“Faecal Occult Blood testing has been proven to reduce deaths from bowel cancer in several international studies. BowelScreen Aotearoa makes faecal occult blood testing more available than at present. A similar pharmacy based programme has been in place in Australia for a number of years”.

“GPs play a key role in bowel cancer detection and screening. However some GPs are reluctant to offer bowel cancer screening to their patients until a national screening programme is in place and yet this may take another 8-10 years to eventuate. BowelScreen Aotearoa provides an additional option for New Zealanders concerned about bowel cancer” says Dr Derrett.

Patients who have symptoms such as change in bowel habit, rectal bleeding or unexplained abdominal pain should consult their doctor. People aged 50-74 with no personal or family history of bowel cancer and with no specific bowel symptoms could benefit from a faecal occult blood test, either through their GP or by purchasing a BowelScreen Aotearoa test kit.

Beat Bowel Cancer Aotearoa

Beat Bowel Cancer Aotearoa (New Zealand) is a national patient-led charity aiming to decrease the impact of bowel cancer on the New Zealand community through awareness, education, support and promotion of access to appropriate screening and treatments.

Through our work we aim to help save lives from one of New Zealand’s most common cancers, the second biggest cancer killer in New Zealand.


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