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Another 12,000 New Zealanders will have died from bowel cancer in the decade or so it could take to set up a national screening programme, Beat Bowel Cancer Aotearoa says.
The patient advocacy group is again calling for a national screening programme, at the start of Bowel Cancer Awareness Week today.
Deputy chairwoman Alison Ellison said that every year the disease killed more New Zealanders than prostate and breast cancer combined.
A national screening programme could reduce death rates from bowel cancer by 15%-30%, she said.
"Bowel cancer is seen as the ugly cousin of breast cancer - yet screening is at least as effective, and international evidence suggests it is similarly cost-effective."
The bowel cancer pilot screening programme in Waitemata was a start, but it was "too little, too late".