The Lifeline of the National Colon Screening Campaign


Associate Ministers of Health Peeni Henare and Aupito William Sio today launched a nationwide multimedia campaign encouraging people to take part in the government’s life-saving bowel screening programme.

“Our government is committed to ensuring that every New Zealander receives the best healthcare possible, no matter where they live or who they are, and our unique health service reform, and policies such as our recent expansion of the gut screening program, demonstrate the progress we are making,” said Peeni Henare.

“Bowel cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in Aotearoa, claiming over 1,200 lives a year, which is why it is so important that as many New Zealanders as possible are encouraged to have their bowel screening done. quick and easy.

“People who are diagnosed with bowel cancer at an early stage have a 90% chance of long-term survival if they receive timely treatment. Ensuring that our whānau access to gut screening means that more of our mothers, fathers, aunts and uncles enjoy lives that would otherwise have been tragically cut short. This is what makes awareness and adoption campaigns for our testing program like this so important,” said Peeni Henare.

Free bowel screening is available to around 835,000 New Zealanders aged 60-74. The screening program is available across Aotearoa and has detected over 1,400 cancers and thousands of precancerous polyps since its launch in 2017.

“The launch of this campaign follows the Government’s Budget 2022 investment to lower the starting age to 50 for Maori and Pacific people participating in the gut screening programme,” said Aupito William Sio.

“A nationwide rollout of the lower age bracket will gradually roll out across the country from July 2023. This is an important step towards addressing health inequities, as a higher proportion of Maori and Pacific people get bowel cancer before they become eligible for screening at age 60.”

“Today’s campaign has been specifically developed alongside Maori and Pacific communities, to help encourage uptake of gut screening where it has been lower in the past,” said Peeni Henare.

“It has a simple message: gut screening is free, quick and easy, and you can do it at home. Early detection can save your life, so do it for yourself and everyone else too.

“During development and research, many people talked about how cancer and bowel cancer affected them or those close to them. They said it was important to discuss cancer openly. gut and bowel screening so that people are encouraged to get tested,” said Aupito William Sio.

“Some members of our Pacific communities may be reluctant to discuss gut screening when it comes to discussing sensitive topics, but I hope we can overcome our fears to save the lives of our loved ones.

“Research and test commentary had to use real people – not actors; involving whānau and aiga; and don’t be afraid to make it funny.

“The campaign developed reflects the colour, vibrancy, whānau and aiga values ​​and humor of Maori and the Pacific. There’s even a campaign song by the Howie Morrison Jnr Trio – There’s a screening here tonight,” said Aupito William Sio.

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