Bowel Cancer in New Zealand

  • Bowel cancer is one of the commonest cancers and one of the commonest causes of cancer death in New Zealand
  • By the age of 75 years, 1 in 19 New Zealanders will have been diagnosed with bowel cancer (1/16 men, 1/21 women)
  • There is no nationwide bowel cancer screening program in New Zealand

Who gets Bowel Cancer?

  • Many people with bowel cancer do not have a family history of this
  • People with a family or personal history of bowel cancer or polyps are at increased risk of bowel cancer
  • People with a change in bowel habit, unexplained abdominal pain, rectal bleeding or unexplained anaemia should discuss with their GP whether they should be referred to a specialist for further assessment
  • People who are concerned about the possibility of bowel cancer should discuss their concerns with their GP
  • Teresa has a special interest in familial bowel cancer syndromes and also works for the NZ Familial Gastrointestinal Cancer Registry in Christchurch

Can Bowel Cancer be prevented?

  • Colonoscopy is the single best test to diagnose bowel cancer
  • Colonoscopy is the single best test to diagnose colonic polyps – these may be precancerous.
  • Polyps can be routinely removed at colonoscopy, reducing the risk of developing bowel cancer
  • People who have had bowel cancer in the past require regular colonoscopy
  • People who have had polyps in the past may require regular colonoscopy

Who should perform my colonoscopy?

  • Colonoscopy quality is very important in ensuring bowel cancer can be prevented by finding and removing polyps.
  • Studies have shown that colonoscopists vary in their ability to find polyps.
  • Teresa, Bruce, Richard, Gary and Catherine are all founding members of Quality Endoscopy New Zealand (QENZ)
  • QENZ endoscopists guarantee you the highest quality endoscopy

Learn more about bowel cancer risk - click here to download informational brochure