The National roll-out of the free bowel screening programme has today reached the halfway point with 10 out of 20 District Health Board's (DHB) now up and running. Mid Central was the tenth DHB to join the programme and is expected to save up to 60 lives within the next two years.

Those between 60-74 years old will be eligible to receive home bowel screening kits which collect a small stool sample that can detect small traces of blood which may be an early indication of bowel cancer.

Over 3000 people develop bowel cancer in NZ each year with some not experiencing any symptoms at all. These minute traces of blood could be the key to detecting early-stage bowel cancer where 90% of patients can be saved if it's found early enough.

Prime Minister Jacinda Adern has said that 420 cases of bowel cancer have already been detected within the 9 DHB's participating so far. Around 700 cases are expected to be caught when the bowel screening programme is fully implemented by 2021.

DHB's yet to join include:

February 1st 2020 - 30 June 2020

  • Canterbury DHB (includes Chatham Islands)
  • Capital & Coast DHB
  • South Canterbury DHB - June 2020
  • Tairawhiti DHB

Remaining DHBS By June 2021

  • Northland DHB
  • Bay of Plenty DHB
  • Waikato DHB
  • Auckland Central DHB
  • Taranaki DHB
  • West Coast DHB

These dates may change as each DHB must demonstrate its ability to deliver a clinically safe and effective bowel screening service before it joins the bowel screening programme.

(Resource: Time to screen)