Resort lags on bowel curve

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Too many Queenstowners aren’t taking free bowel cancer screening tests.

The tests are free for those aged 60 to 74 who are eligible for public healthcare.

However Queenstown-Lakes has the lowest response rate out of all Southern District Health Board areas.

Only about 60 per cent of those sent invitations are participating in the programme, compared to 69 per cent in some other areas.

SDHB bowel screening programme manager Emma Bell (pictured) brought a blow-up bowel to last week’s Polyfest at the Queenstown Memorial Centre to ram home the message.

Local mayor Jim Boult, who was among those to pop in, commented: “If you are around my age and you don’t do this you’re nuts.”

Also supporting the message was local Tom Mulqueen (inset), who received a test kit, returned a sample and was relieved to get a negative result. His advice to other people is, “do it”.

About 1200 New Zealanders die of bowel cancer every year, however people diagnosed with early-stage cancer who receive treatment have a 90 per cent chance of long-term survival.

The SDHB programme has already detected more than 20 cases of bowel cancer.

Screening programme comms advisor Anna Dorsey says anyone with concerns who hasn’t received their kit or is outside the screening age group should see their doctor straightaway.

scoop@scene.co.nz