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Published Friday 2 Aug 2019

It takes two years to invite all eligible people (60 to 74 years) in a health board region to screening, so today is a big day for Wairarapa DHB - one of the first in the country to roll out the programme.

Chief Executive, Dale Oliff (right) and Cultural Advisor, Aunty Mihi cut the Anniversary Cake today to mark the milestone.

Bowel cancer is New Zealand’s second most common cause of cancer death, with around 100 people dying every month. The screening programme provides the opportunity to detect issues that otherwise may not have been found, providing early treatment and monitoring where required, and two-yearly checking for people without symptoms or identified issues.

“It is really exciting to be a part of this programme,” said Janeen Cross, one of the Wairarapa DHB team that are leading the bowel screening locally.

“Our Wairarapa whānau have been actively engaging and we have had really good participation results. Where people have put the kits aside and perhaps forgotten them we have given them a nudge, just a gentle reminder and some reassurance.”

“The test is easy to do and, once people know that, they are happy to take up the screening opportunity,” Janeen says. “Really, our Wairarapa whānau want to be around to enjoy their lives and watch their mokopuna grow up. The bowel screening programme helps that happen, and we feel privileged to have been the first DHB to provide that for our community.”

Wairarapa’s bowel screening team wants everyone to encourage the older people in their lives to do the simple test when it comes in the mail, and to continue with two-yearly screening for as long as they are eligible.