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Cancer Screening Pilot Inadequate, Lobby Group Says

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Cancer Screening Pilot Inadequate, Lobby Group Says

Wellington, Dec 7 NZPA - A bowel cancer lobby group says a pilot screening programme announced today is too little, too late.

Health Minister Tony Ryall said the programme would be trialled by the Waitemata District Health Board and would cover 130,000 people.

It would start next October and run for four years at a cost of $24 million, he said.

The lobby group, Beat Bowel Cancer Aotearoa, said it was concerned and disappointed by the initiative.

Chairwoman Sarah Derrett said 7500 people would die during the time it took to complete the programme.

"That's 10 people every three days, three times the national road toll," she said.

"We can no longer ignore this preventable tragedy...although we welcome any progress towards a screening programme this proposal is too little, too late."

Ms Derrett said screening for bowel cancer was known to save lives, and nation-wide screening programmes were in place in the United Kingdom and Finland.

"New Zealand needs to act now. Only around 60 percent of bowel cancers are currently cured in this country and that's a higher death rate than either breast or prostate cancer."

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