Bowel cancer is now the most common cancer in New Zealand according to new Ministry of Health data. The centrepiece of the new National government’s cancer plan must be introducing a nationwide screening programme as bowel cancer has 10% worse death rates than in Australia. Cancer: The New Registrations and Deaths 2011 report found 3030 colorectal cancers were registered and bowel cancer was New Zealand’s second biggest killer.

Beat Bowel Cancer Aotearoa CEO Megan Smith asks -“How much longer will this government ignore their own bowel cancer data? Bowel cancer is now the most common cancer in NZ and still we die waiting for a screening programme at a rate of nearly 100 precious lives every month. “

“This is completely unacceptable and on behalf of all New Zealander’s affected by this disease Beat Bowel Cancer Aotearoa demand a bowel cancer screening programme, not more excuses and delay tactics,” says Smith.

Bowel cancer kills 1191 Kiwi’s a year – nearly as many as breast and prostate combined, and 5 times the national road toll.

“All excuses to deny New Zealander’s access to nationally funded bowel cancer screening which would detect bowel cancers at an early stage when most will be curable, have been exhausted – the time has come for our government to act now and save lives being lost needlessly early to bowel cancer,” responds Smith.

Bowel cancer is New Zealand’s second most deadly cancer, with those diagnosed only having a 55% chance of surviving more than five years. Beat Bowel Cancer Aotearoa is committed to reducing the impact of bowel cancer in New Zealand through awareness, education and support, with the hopes of increasing the survival rate to 75%.