11 Aug 2013

Govt favours national bowel cancer screening

1:25 pm on 11 August 2013

Health Minister Tony Ryall says the Government would prefer to go ahead with national screening for bowel cancer once a trial in Waitemata ends.

The latest results, released on Friday say the four-year trial has found 75 cancers in its first 15 months.

Mr Ryall told a meeting of colorectal cancer specialists in Wellington that it is the Government's preference to go ahead with national screening after the pilot.

He said the biggest constraint is whether the workforce can be provided to do the associated colonoscopy examinations.

At present 40,000 colonoscopies are carried out each year, and an extra 17,000 would need to be done in the first year of national screening.

Mr Ryall says he has asked his workforce advisers what action needs to be taken to prepare, in case it's decided to roll out national screening.