Dunedin Hospital’s new gastroenterology department is expected to help a region with one of the highest bowel cancer mortality rates in New Zealand.

The opening of the Southern District Health Board’s $3.2 million unit was welcomed with applause on Friday afternoon and Dunedin City councillor Rachel Elder was amongst the officials and doctors who attended its launch.

It was an occasion that hit close to home for her – she lost her brother Hugh to bowel cancer in March last year. The cancer was roughly the size of a baseball by the time it was diagnosed in December 2016, Ms Elder said.

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