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$24m for bowel cancer screening pilot programme

A bowel cancer screening pilot costing $24 million over the next four years will be funded in the May 20 budget, Health Minister Tony Ryall said today.Bowel cancer was the most frequently diagnosed cancer and the second highest cause of cancer death in Ne

NZPA
Wed, 05 May 2010

A bowel cancer screening pilot costing $24 million over the next four years will be funded in the May 20 budget, Health Minister Tony Ryall said today.

Bowel cancer was the most frequently diagnosed cancer and the second highest cause of cancer death in New Zealand, he said.

In 2007 nearly 3000 people were diagnosed with bowel cancer and 1252 died from it.

"A nationwide bowel cancer screening programme could ensure earlier treatment for those identified with cancer and could, over time, reduce the death rate by up to 36 percent, saving up to 270 lives each year," he said.

"The pilot will give us a clear idea of the sector's ability to do the required colonoscopies in the future, and the costs and benefits of rolling out a full national bowel cancer screening programme."

Mr Ryall said a full national screening programme could cost about $60 million a year.

"A significant constraint is the workforce to deal with expected future demand for colonoscopies," he said.

"The Ministry of Health and the District Health Boards' bowel cancer programme teams will continue to work on strengthening existing colonoscopy services and building the workforce in this area."

Mr Ryall said the ministry would seek expressions of interest from providers to run the pilot programme which was expected to cover a minimum 60,000 people aged 50 to 74.

The four-year-long pilot would start later next year and when it ended a full evaluation would determine whether the programme was rolled out nationally.

NZPA
Wed, 05 May 2010
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$24m for bowel cancer screening pilot programme
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