A number of processing delays of the private home bowel screening kits purchased in Pharmacies over the counter or online have forced the kits to be put on hold due to the COVID pandemic.
This home-based screening kit is part of Bowel Screen AotearoaTM by GreenCross Health and is available for those who cannot participate in the Free National Bowel Screening Programme (NBSP) due to age constraints or due to their DHB's not being ready to join the free national programme.
The reliable home-based bowel screening kits are provided to Green Cross Health, by the Australian Clinical Genomics company - ColoVantage. Postal delays getting the kits to Australia for testing due to the COVID restrictions have caused some kits to reach their expiry before the testing can be completed.
A spokesperson for GreenCross Health has said, until they can rely on the postal service resuming in a timely manner, they cannot guarantee the kits will arrive before expiry.
"We have had lots of delays on these kits reaching Australia. We have put a temporary hold on selling these in our pharmacies at the moment due to these delays."
"We have been international couriering some on behalf of patients to Australia and they seem to arrive, but normal post is delayed therefore not reaching in time before expiry."
If you have a kit at home, GreenCross Health recommend you courier it to the Australian lab addressed on the envelope provided instead of normal post. It will be a little more expensive but will ensure it gets there in time.
The samples have to be sent in the pre-paid envelope to arrive at the Australian lab Clinical Genomics for analysis within 14 days or you may be required to provide another sample. Specialists will analyse the samples and send results to the Doctor you list on the form which is also provided within the kit.
Clinical Genomics are currently looking at options for testing the samples in New Zealand.
The Bowel Screen AotearoaTM screening kit is different from the Governments FREE National Bowel Screening Programme which is only available for both men and women between the ages of 60-74 years old who live within the boundaries of the current 11 DHB's who participate.
If you are between the ages of 60-74 and have the Governments free National Bowel Screening kit sent to you, please complete and send back in the New Zealand envelope provided. This Screening is not on hold.
The aim of screening is to find any polyps before they turn in to bowel cancer or to find cancer early when it is easier to treat and cure.
People experiencing symptoms or who have a personal/family history of bowel cancer or polyps are advised to also discuss appropriate screening for the disease with their doctor.
Bowel Cancer Foundation Trust has developed a research trial using sniffer dogs to detect bowel cancer in patients which is hoped to help these types of delays where kits need to be sent overseas and free up medical professionals' workloads and lead to earlier detection.
Specially trained dogs, have been working to sniff the urine of patients as part of the Bowel Cancer Foundation Trust's trial since January this year.
Read more and follow our early stage K9 Medical Detection screening trial here