Only in New Zealand can you get the Leader of the National Party and the Leader of the Opposition to come to your house for a coffee and a chat!

It’s unusual that politicians actually follow through with promises, but the Hon. Simon Bridges did just that when he met with our CEO, Georgina Mason, yesterday to help look into ways of making rehabilitation more accessible for all bowel cancer patients.

Following on from Georgina’s speaking engagement alongside Simon at his hot seat breakfast interview in July, they spoke at length about the needs of bowel cancer patients in New Zealand and were joined by rehabilitation specialist and CEO of Pinc and Steel, Lou James (MNZN).

From left to right: Lou James, MNZN (CEO Pinc and Steel), Hon. Simon Bridges (Leader of the National Party and Leader of the Opposition), Georgina Mason, (CEO Bowel Cancer Foundation Trust).

“Bowel Cancer Foundation Trust and Pinc & Steel are looking to pilot a programme to teach bowel cancer patients through rehabilitation to self-manage their chronic illness,” said CEO of Bowel Cancer Foundation Trust, Georgina Mason.

“This will help to reduce the reliance on government and lessen the financial impact on families, community and the country as a whole,” she added.

Financial help is required to fund the 2000+ survivors of bowel cancer annually with personalised cancer rehabilitation sessions for each patient provided by Pinc and Steel’s trained cancer physiotherapists.

Each year over 3,200 New Zealanders are diagnosed with bowel cancer, and 1200 are sadly expected to die from it. That’s more than breast and prostate cancers combined and 8 x the national road toll.

Pinc and Steel CEO, Lou James said, “Many New Zealanders miss out on essential cancer rehabilitation services, meaning the people who survive each year are more at risk of developing secondary illnesses such as cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and osteoporosis without rehabilitation.”

Experts at the Clinical Oncology Society of Australia launched a position statement endorsed by 25 other cancer organisations in May 2018, stating that we can reduce these secondary illnesses and mortality rates by up to 44% literally with physio and exercise. This means more people will survive but less will be spent on healthcare providing for these avoidable illnesses.

According to the New Zealand Medical Journal, The Ministry of Health has projected to spend $93m+ annually on bowel and rectal cancer by 2020. With the roll-out of the free national bowel screening programme, more cancers are expected to be diagnosed at an earlier stage and more people are expected to survive.

The New Zealand Cancer Registry records that approx. 57% of diagnosed bowel cancer patients are of working age. Rehabilitation will give them the ability to return to work faster and healthier putting less stress on everyone in the community.

Bowel Cancer Foundation Trust work closely with Pinc & Steel Rehabilitation Trust to help bowel cancer survivors. They are the only organisation in NZ who specifically help all cancer survivors by training over 100 physios in 80 clinics all over the country.

Learn more about bowel cancer rehabilitation

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