Bowel screen­ing now in the Bay

Napier Courier - - ITS SHOWTIME -

Hawke’s Bay is the seventh re­gion to take part in the Na­tional Bowel Screen­ing Pro­gramme aimed at de­tect­ing early signs of bowel can­cer.

HBDHB clin­i­cal lead of gas­troen­terol­ogy, Dr Mal­colm Arnold, says tak­ing part in the pro­gramme could be life-sav­ing, thanks to early de­tec­tion.

One in 18 males and one in 21 fe­males will ex­pe­ri­ence bowel can­cer by the age of 75 in New Zealand.

“The Na­tional Bowel Screen­ing Pro­gramme will iden­tify can­cers ear­lier and al­low us to re­move pre­can­cer­ous polyps which will in the medium to long-term re­duce the in­ci­dence of bowel can­cer,” Mal­colm says.

All el­i­gi­ble Hawke’s Bay res­i­dents aged be­tween 60 and 74 were au­to­mat­i­cally en­rolled in the pro­gramme and prein­vi­ta­tion let­ters would be sent out daily, via a birth date sys­tem, tak­ing ap­prox­i­mately two years to reach all res­i­dents.

Peo­ple also had the op­por­tu­nity to opt out when they re­ceive their first let­ter.

“The free home test kit is dis­creet, sim­ple and clean to use,” Mal­colm says.

“A poo sam­ple is col­lected on a test stick, placed in a sam­ple tube then se­cured in a zip-lock bag. A Freep­ost en­ve­lope is pro­vided and within three weeks of a sam­ple be­ing posted, that per­son will be con­tacted about their re­sults.”

Min­is­ter of Health David Clark of­fi­cially opened Hawke’s Bay’s new gas­troen­terol­ogy and en­doscopy ser­vices build­ing re­cently at Hawke’s Bay Hospi­tal. The $13 mil­lion fa­cil­ity will boost the hospi­tal’s abil­ity to pre­vent and treat gas­tro and bowel con­di­tions, in­clud­ing bowel can­cer.

Mal­colm says Hawke’s Bay’s pop­u­la­tion had a sig­nif­i­cant num­ber of gas­troen­tero­log­i­cal prob­lems, many of which were un­di­ag­nosed.

“This fa­cil­ity com­bined with the roll­out of the Na­tional Bowel Screen­ing Pro­gramme in Hawke’s Bay means we can catch can­cer at its early stages, when peo­ple are not ex­pe­ri­enc­ing symp­toms, and can more read­ily in­ves­ti­gate symp­toms which may be in keep­ing with in­flam­ma­tory bowel dis­ease and pro­vide ear­lier, more ef­fec­tive treat­ment.

“This will make a real dif­fer­ence in the lives of many pa­tients and their fam­i­lies in Hawke’s Bay each year,” he says.

Hawke’s Bay DHB Bowel Screen­ing team mem­bers (from left) Claire Cad­die, Louise O’Con­nor, Nerissa Kirkby, Paula Jones, Lynda Mock­ett and Dr Mal­colm Arnold.

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