National Bowel Screening Programme - Starting Soon!

Dr Jason Hill, clinical lead and Emma Bell, Programme Manager for the Southern DHB National Bowel...
Dr Jason Hill, clinical lead and Emma Bell, Programme Manager for the Southern DHB National Bowel Screening Programme prepare for the programme launch. Photo: Supplied.
From late April, over 51,000 residents aged 60 – 74 years of age living in Otago and Southland will be invited to participate in the National Bowel Screening Programme.

The free programme will save lives through detecting pre-cancerous polyps, or finding bowel cancer early, when it can often be successfully treated.

Those eligible to participate will receive an invitation letter, home testing kit and consent form through the mail.

The test is carried out at home and detects minute traces of blood in a sample of faeces (poo). This can be an early warning sign for bowel cancer, alerting health providers that further investigation is required, typically through a colonoscopy.

What you need to know:

  • All tests and treatment are free for eligible participants (people who are eligible to receive public healthcare, and who are not currently receiving treatment, or surveillance for bowel cancer.)
  • The screening programme is only for people with no symptoms of bowel cancer and people will be invited to take a screening test every two years.
  • People don’t need to register, they will be automatically contacted by mail. However, we are encouraging people aged 60 – 74 years of age to ensure their details are up to date with their GP.
  • Bowel cancer is most likely to affect people over 60, however it can occur at any age. If you have any concerns about your bowel health talk to your doctor right away, don’t wait for the screening – screening is for people without bowel symptoms.


Click the links below to read more:

Southern District Health Board - Better Health

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