Bowel Screening Programme launched in Lakes DHB area
15/02/2019 8:22:49 a.m.

Friday 15 February 2019

Bowel Screening Programme launched in Lakes DHB area


A small gathering of bowel cancer survivors, DHB staff and Board members attended this morning’s launch of the National DHB Bowel Screening Programme in Lakes DHB, held at Taharangi Marae in Rotorua.

From next week just over 17,000 men and women aged 60 to 74 years of age living in the Lakes DHB area will be invited to participate in the free national programme.

Lakes has one of the highest rates of bowel cancer in the country and New Zealand has some of the highest rates in the world, so the programme is particularly valuable for communities, individuals and their families/whānau in the Rotorua, Taupo and Turangi areas.

Kura Hingston (Ngati Manawa, Ngati Whare and Ngati Porou) is a member of the consumers group championing the bowel screening programme in the Lakes district. Kura spoke about her own journey and path to recovery.  Kura encourages people to take the test when they get the invite, and if they are feeling unwell to go and see their doctor.

Bowel cancer is also known as colorectal cancer that includes cancer of both the colon and rectum. Between 2010 - 2015 the Lakes DHB experienced a total of 399 colorectal cancer registrations, with 59 new cancer registrations identified as Māori.

Lakes DHB will be the first DHB in the Midland region to take part in the National Bowel Screening Programme.

Those people who are eligible will receive an invitation letter, home testing-kit and consent form through the mail. Eligible participants will receive their first invitation within two years of the programme starting. The faecal immunochemical (FIT) test detects minute traces of blood in a sample of faeces (poo) which can be an early warning sign for bowel cancer, alerting health providers that further investigation is required.

Positive results are communicated by the participant’s local GP. Providers will manage referrals and encourage, educate and support patients to undergo a colonoscopy. If further treatment is required, providers will work in partnership with Lakes DHB to ensure prompt and appropriate treatment for patients. People with negative results will be invited every two years, until they reach 75 years of age, to participate in the programme again.

All tests and treatment are free for eligible people (those entitled to receive public healthcare, and who are not currently receiving treatment, or under surveillance for bowel cancer.)

The screening programme is designed for people with no symptoms of bowel cancer. Common symptoms include a change to a person’s normal pattern of going to the toilet that continues for several weeks and/or blood in a bowel motion. Although these symptoms are usually caused by other conditions, it’s important that people get them checked by their doctor.

The programme that is designed save lives and prolong health for many people rolls out across the Lakes DHB area from 19 February.

New staff have been recruited to support the programme including a clinical nurse co-ordinator and health promoter.

Statistics New Zealand’s population projections 2016 update the Lakes DHB eligible population for the National Bowel Screening Programme is estimated to be approximately 17,280 in the 2018/19 (current) financial year and rising to approximately 19,090 by 2022/23.

Broken down by ethnicity the projections for the first year of bowel screening in Lakes DHB (financial year 2018/19) indicate that Māori will make up approximately 20% of the eligible bowel screening population. Māori and Pacific People are considered to be priority populations for the screening programme.

You can find out more about the National Bowel Screening Programme at

Queries about the programme rollout at Lakes DHB? Email