Another 17,000 New Zealanders will have access to free bowel screening with Lakes District Health Board (DHB) joining the National Bowel Screening Programme (NBSP).
The programme provides free screening to eligible men and women aged 60 to 74 and aims to detect bowel cancer early, when it can often be successfully treated.
Lakes is the eighth DHB to join the NBSP, which is being progressively introduced throughout the country. Clinical Director Dr Susan Parry says the Ministry is excited to have Lakes on board.
‘Residents of Lakes district now have the opportunity to benefit from this life-saving programme. We know that 80% of bowel cancers occur in people over 60 so we urge communities and whanau to encourage eligible family members to complete and send back the test kits that come in the post.
‘This is particularly important for Māori, who represent 20% of Lakes DHB's population. Māori are often diagnosed with bowel cancer at an advanced stage so early detection has real potential to save lives in this population.’
People diagnosed with early stage bowel cancer, and who receive treatment early, have a 90% chance of long term survival.
Dr Parry says DHBs have to demonstrate that they have the specialist staff and facilities to be able to offer a safe, effective and sustainable bowel screening programme before joining the NBSP.
‘Lakes DHB has worked hard to do this and we're delighted to welcome them to the national programme.’
Other DHBs offering free bowel screening are Waitemata, Hutt Valley, Wairarapa, Southern, Counties Manukau, Nelson Marlborough, Hawkes Bay and Lakes. The rest are expected to join the national programme by mid-2021.
To find out more, go to National Bowel Screening Programme.