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A pain the gut

Friday July 12, 2013 Written by Published in Health

Pacific Islanders are disregarding alarming statistics by not making full use of bowel cancer testing, said a doctor at the Cook Islands Health Conference yesterday.

Bowel cancer killed 1280 people in New Zealand in 2008.The same disease will be diagnosed in 3302 people in 2016.

According to a four year pilot study undertaken by Dr Ward, only 25 per cent of Pacific Islanders participated in the screening cycle from 2011-2013.

Dr Ward, as part of the pilot, with two 2-year screening cycles, found that Pacific Islanders lagged behind Maori and Asian groups, who led the way in bowel cancer screening.

These are the alarming statistics that Ward, a surgeon at the Christchurch Hospital in New Zealand, wanted to make people in the Cook Islands aware off.

For a bowel cancer test to be effective, it needs to be cheap, accessible and re-usable, said Ward, who said not enough of the community is getting tested.

A colorectal cancer detection method called Immunological Faecal Occult Blood Testing), found that 2216 people tested positive for colorectal cancer in New Zealand.

More than 50,000 people were invited for the study, out of which around 54 per cent participated. Male and female participation rates were almost equal.

Ward suggested a thorough screening process be undertaken by doctors in the Cook Islands and that people eligible for the tests should be encouraged to make full use of them to avoid adding to the colorectal statistics.

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