Bowel can­cer screen­ing

The Press - - Perspective -

The weak­en­ing of the Waitem­ata DHB bowel can­cer screen­ing trial as it is rolled out na­tion­ally (Feb 15) is a strat­egy to min­imise the amount the Gov­ern­ment does in the face of one of the most se­ri­ous health is­sues fac­ing NZ.

By chang­ing how they mea­sure the prob­lem, fewer can­cers will be de­tected than should be, and so fewer will be treated ex­pe­di­tiously.

In this in­stance they have al­tered the in­di­ca­tor thresh­olds for bowel can­cer screen­ing, in­clud­ing chang­ing them from 15 mi­cro­grams blood per gram un­der the trial to 40, whereas Aus­tralia has it set at 20.

This re­duces the fol­low up colono­scopies re­quired to fit bud­gets rather than to meet the gen­uine prob­lem of how to de­liver this vi­tal health re­quire­ment.

If there is no plan for DHBs to rad­i­cally en­hance the de­liv­ery of colono­scopies, the cost will be borne by the many thou­sands of tax­pay­ers who will con­tinue to lose their lives to this treat­able and sur­viv­able dis­ease through the com­ing decades. Phil Pear­son Wain­oni

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