The team at the Bowel Screening pilot have sent out 201,649 invitations so far. From left, Virginia Tuta’i and Diana Raynes with just a few of the hundreds of test kits sent out each day.
Hibiscus Coast residents have received a pat on the back from the Waitemata District Health Board’s Bowel Screening team, with well over half of all eligible residents doing the test.
Almost 60 percent of eligible people from the Hibiscus Coast area have returned a completed test kit. Of these, 809 people tested positive and were referred for a colonoscopy. A total of 43 people in the area found out they had bowel cancer through taking part in the pilot.
Bowel Screening programme manager Gaye Tozer is urging others to take the opportunity to do the test too.
The Government has extended the bowel screening pilot until the end of 2017 and the results will help decide whether a national programme will be rolled out.
People aged between 50 and 74 living in the Waitemata DHB area will receive a third test kit through the mail when it’s their turn to participate.
“We are encouraging people to do the third test, as regular bowel screening can help find early signs of cancer. No screening test is 100 percent accurate, which is why it is important to do the test every two years while the pilot is running, even if your previous results were normal,” Mrs Tozer says.
So far, the Bowel Screening pilot team has sent out a total of 201,649 invitations throughout the Waitemata DHB area and 110,220 people have returned a correctly completed kit. The participation rate for round one is now 56.8 percent and for round two (up to the end of March 2015) it is 51.4 percent.
More than 6000 people have received a colonoscopy through the Bowel Screening pilot so far and 255 people have been found to have bowel cancer as a result of taking part.
“Nearly 70 percent of these cancers have been found at an early stage when treatment can be more successful.
Also 4057 people have had polyps removed which may have developed into cancer over time, so the screening test is preventing cancer as well as finding it,” says Mrs Tozer.
If you have not received an invitation, or have moved house, let the Bowel Screening team know by phoning 0800 924 432 or visit bowelscreeningwaitemata.co.nz.
The Bowel Screening team recommend that you see your doctor now if you have any bowel symptoms that concern you, even if your screening test was clear.