October 07, 2019
Bowel screening programme catches Māori short
A south Auckland general practitioner says the national bowel cancer screening programme now being rolled out will fail Māori.
The programme will a free screen every two years for men and women aged 60 to 74.
But Dr Rawiri Jansen, the medical director of Papakura Marae Health Clinic, says those designing the scheme seem to have overlooked Māori.
"That should be from age 50 for Māori. Half of all Māori bowel cancer happens before age 60, so it's not a proper screening programme if half of it has already happened," he says.
A study released last year of survival rates from colorectal cancer found Māori are diagnosed later, often when they turn up to the emergency department, and they have a five year risk of death of 47 percent compared with 38 percent for non-Māori and Pacific and 59 percent for Pacific.
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