A new study estimates the cost of treating bowel cancer will rise by nearly 20 percent by 2026.
Researchers have estimated the cost if New Zealand does not adopt a bowel cancer screening programme.
The researchers, who include the Otago University health economist Ian Sheerin, used 2011 prices as a basis for quantifying the burden on resources over the next 11 years.
According to findings published in the latest Medical Journal, treatment costs will rise from $83.6 million a year to more than $100 million.
New Zealand and Australia have the highest rates of colorectal cancers in the world, and the report expects the number of cases in this country to rise from 3060 in 2014 to 3851 in 2026.
It said international evidence shows mortality rates fall when a screening programme is available.
A pilot programme is currently in place here, and the feasibility of a rollout is being evaluated.