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Staff at the bowel screening pilot are urging anyone living on the North Shore to get in touch if they haven’t yet been sent an invitation and test kit to check themselves out.
Bowel Screening community awareness team leader Elizabeth Brown says bowel cancer is now the most commonly diagnosed cancer in New Zealand, and the second leading cause of death from cancer. The pilot has detected cancer in 184 people so far.
Waitemata District Health Board residents (which includes the North Shore), who are aged 50-74 and who are eligible for publicly funded health care can participate in the free bowel screening pilot. The results of the pilot will help inform whether a national programme will be rolled out.
Latest figures from the pilot show around 54 percent of people invited to take part in the pilot have returned a completed bowel screening test. Ms Brown says while that figure is good compared with similar pilots internationally, she is concerned many people who want to take part are missing out on this unique opportunity.
“We get returned mail every week, which means that people are missing out on doing the bowel screening test, which helps find early signs of cancer when it can be treated more successfully,” says Ms Brown.
“One thing we know about New Zealanders is that they like to move around. If you have moved house or moved into the area and not yet been invited to take part in bowel screening please phone us on 0800 924 432 or email firstname.lastname@example.org”
She also wants to remind everyone that most people will be invited to do the test twice during the pilot.
“We are so lucky in Waitemata to have the opportunity to have such an amazing programme that has already saved lives. I urge anyone who has put off doing the test to consider doing it. Or if you are unsure if bowel screening is for you talk to your family doctor,” she says.
Channel Magazine: Issuu 49 November 2014