Screening programme coming soon
As a bowel screening clinical nurse specialist, Kareen McLeod was recently a guest of the Rural Women NZ (RWNZ) to talk about the National Bowel Screening Programme coming soon to Taranaki. More than 70 members and guests turned out to hear from Kareen who presented at the Taranaki area RWNZ’s Health Forum held at the Taranaki Pioneer Village in Stratford. Kareen is part of a Taranaki District Health Board project team preparing for the National Bowel Screening Programme rollout in Taranaki this year. Part of her role is talking with community groups about the importance of the bowel screening programme and how it helps detect and treat bowel cancers early at a stage when it is often easily treated. People who are diagnosed with early stage bowel cancer, and who receive treatment early, have a 90 per cent chance of long term survival. Once the programme is launched in Taranaki, a large part of Kareen’s work will be supporting patients through their bowel screening journeys, as free bowel screening will be offered to eligible men and women aged 60 to 74, as a test kit to do at home. Bowel cancer is currently New Zealand’s second biggest cancer killer. More than 3000 people are diagnosed with bowel cancer every year and more than 1200 die from the disease. Kareen’s role is also to provide support and education to primary and secondary medical, nursing and administration staff on the bowel screening programme. The programme is being rolled out progressively throughout New Zealand and once it is fully implemented, more than 700,000 people aged between 60 and 74 years will be invited to take part every two years. For every 1000 who complete a test, about 50 will be positive. Of those, about 35 will be found to have polyps and three or four will have cancer. For more information on the National Bowel Screening Programme visit: https:/ /www.tdhb.org.nz/services/ bowel-screening.shtml.