Bowel cancer screening

Bowel cancer is a serious issue in New Zealand. Alarming statistics list New Zealand as having one of the highest rates in the world. The earlier bowel cancer is caught, the easier it is to treat. 75% of bowel cancer is curable if caught early.

Awareness is key. Detection is crucial.

Bowel (colorectal) cancer is the most common cancer in New Zealand. 1 out of every 15 New Zealanders will develop bowel cancer sometime in their life.

Whether you have symptoms or not, early diagnosis and treatment is crucial. Anyone with a family history of bowel cancer or polyps should be extremely vigilant. Individuals who carry certain predisposing genes have about an 80% chance of developing bowel cancer. 

Importantly, most polyps and early cancers do not cause any symptoms. Colonoscopic screening before symptoms occur offers the best chance of prevention.

Bowel cancer screening at Intus

Intus provides the gold standard of bowel cancer screening. The most accurate and thorough method of screening the bowel is colonoscopy. Our specialists are highly skilled and experienced colorectal surgeons and gastroenterologists who work closely with our patients to provide personalised care in a professional environment.

The Endoscopy Suite at Intus is equipped with state-of-the-art equipment and the latest technology which ensures all abnormalities are detected and can usually be dealt with during the procedure, preventing you from developing bowel cancer in the future. 

We also see patients who have been found to have a positive Faecal Occult Blood test through patient participation in the National Bowel Cancer Screening programme. 

Bowel cancer screening is offered in Christchurch, Queenstown, Wanaka and Pegasus.

General guidelines

  • People with symptoms that suggest the presence of bowel cancer or polyps should have appropriate diagnostic evaluation. They are not candidates for screening.
  • Personal and familial risk factors need to be evaluated when considering screening.
  • Screening for bowel cancer and pre cancerous polyps should be offered to all men and women beginning at age 50.
  • Doctors should recommend a full diagnostic evaluation of the colon to follow up positive screening test.
  • Follow up surveillance should be considered after treatment of bowel cancer or removal of adenomatous polyps or in the presence of underlying pre-malignant conditions such as inflammatory bowel disease. 
  • Screening should be accompanied by efforts to optimise a participation of patients and healthcare providers both with screening tests and appropriate diagnostic follow up.
  • People who are candidates for screening should be given adequate information on the risks and benefits of the various screening procedures.

Bowel Cancer in New Zealand

General and Colorectal Surgeon, Mr Richard Perry talks about the prevalence of bowel cancer in New Zealand and our screening guidelines at Intus Digestive and Colorectal Care. 

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