A bowel screening pilot is now underway in the Waitemata District Health Board area. The pilot runs until December 2017.
Since late 2011, the Bowel Screening Pilot has been offering bowel screening to eligible people aged 50 to 74 years living in the Waitemata District Health Board area. The Pilot will transition to the national bowel screening model over the course of the National Bowel Screening Programme (NBSP) roll-out.
The eligible age range for the NBSP will be 60 to 74 years. More than 80 percent of cancers detected through the Pilot have been in people aged 60 to 74 years.
As part of the Pilot transition, eligible people aged 50 years and over who are living in the Waitemata DHB area will continue to be invited for screening until the Pilot ends in December 2017. People in the 50 to 74 year age group who have received an invitation through the Pilot will continue to be invited to complete a bowel screening test every two years.
People living in the Waitemata DHB area who have not turned 50 years by the end of the Pilot and have not been invited to participate in the Pilot, will now have to wait to be screened until they turn 60 and become eligible for screening as part of the national programme.
Budget 2010 committed $24 million over four years for the bowel screening pilot. Budget 2015 invested a further $12.4 million to extend the pilot to December 2017.
You can find more information about the pilot on the dedicated Bowel Screening website. Other leaflets about bowel cancer and bowel screening can be downloaded from the Bowel screening pilot resources page.
Why New Zealand is doing this pilot
Bowel cancer is one of New Zealand’s most common cancers and the second highest cause of cancer death.
About 3000 New Zealanders are diagnosed with bowel cancer each year and more than 1200 die from it.
Bowel screening can detect cancer at an early stage when it can be more easily treated and often cured.
Information from the Waitemata District Health Board bowel screening pilot is helping inform decisions about a national bowel screening programme.
Data collected during the pilot is providing vital information on participation levels, cancer detection rates and the impact on health services.
It is best practice internationally to pilot a screening programme before offering it more widely, to ensure it is safe for participants, there is capacity to provide timely diagnostic and treatment services and that all processes are working correctly.