The first bowel screening invites are to be sent out this week to eligible people living in the two district health boards kickstarting the staged national rollout, says Health Minister Jonathan Coleman.

About 30,000 Wairarapa and Hutt Valley residents aged between 60 and 70 will be invited to do the screening test over the next two years following the successful pilot running in Waitemata DHB since late 2011.  Waitemata will transition to the national programme from January 2018 followed by Southern and Counties Manukau DHBs with the national rollout to be completed by 2020.

Coleman said that the latest data shows 4,437 patients received a colonoscopy in May 2017 which was the largest number in a single month since data collection began in July 2012.

Every year around 3,000 New Zealanders are diagnosed with bowel cancer and more than 1,200 die from it. Coleman said once screening was available nationwide it was expected that up to 700 cancers would be detected annually.

Further information on the National Bowel Screening Programme is available at www.bowelscreening.health.govt.nz

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