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Screening For Bowel Cancer

Screening for Bowel Cancer

Bowel cancer is the second highest cause of cancer death in New Zealand. The earlier it is detected, the more likely it is that treatment will be successful.

From August 2018 Nelson Marlborough DHB will be starting a bowel cancer screening programme. This is a free programme for anyone aged 60 – 74 years.

What do I need to know about screening?

  • You will automatically receive the testing kit in the post if you are between the ages of 60 – 74.
  • It won’t cost you anything!
  • You will be invited to complete the screening every 2 years
  • You don’t need to eat – or not eat – anything special before doing the test.
  • You can do the test in the privacy of your own home.

How will I get the result?

Positive results will be sent to your GP Practice and they will let you know. If the test is negative, you will be sent a letter from the National Bowel Screening Centre.

What happens if I get a positive result?

The most important thing to remember is that a positive result does not necessarily mean you have bowel cancer.

The test looks for small amounts of blood. Sometimes blood can be present from piles, or small polyps in the bowel.

If your result is positive, you will be offered a referral for a Colonoscopy. This involves putting a thin tube into your anus. The tube has a small camera and is used to see if there are any issues inside your bowel.

Possible signs of Bowel Cancer can include:

  • a change in your normal bowel habit that continues for several weeks
  • blood in your bowel motion.

Although these symptoms are usually caused by other conditions, don’t wait for the screening kit to arrive in the post – come and see your GP!

Want more information?

Click here for more information about the screening programme and how to do the test.