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Maori Authority welcomes early screening for Maori Pasifika when it comes to bowel cancer

The Chair of the National Maori Authority, Matthew Tukaki, has welcomed the Governments move to reduce the age of screening for Maori and Pasifika whanau when it comes to Bowel Cancer.

"This is a great move that will see the age of testing reduce by ten years to 50 which itself could save thousands of lives. I cannot understate how much this means as someone who is of the age, with a range of underlying health conditions i have been addressing, whereby i need to start not only thinking about it but getting it done. And this is now where the rubber needs to hit the road - we need to step up and make sure we continue to raise awareness of bowel cancer so our men in particular get tested. Dont hang around until its too late!" Tukaki said

Associate Ministers of Health Peeni Henare and Aupito William Sio say Budget 2022 will see an extra 60,000 Māori and Pacific people receive screening for bowel cancer.

“Budget 2022 invests in resetting our health system and gives economic security in good times and in bad. For Māori, this means reforming our health system so the health needs of Māori are met consistently,” Peeni Henare said.

“A higher proportion of bowel cancer occurs in Māori and Pacific peoples before they reach 60, at approximately 21 percent, compared to 10 percent for non-Māori, non-Pacific peoples.

“This $36 million investment from Budget 2022 will lower the starting age for bowel screening for these groups from 60 years old to 50 to help ensure that the screening system reflects these statistics.

“This initiative now means this age group will be able to access screening when they need it the most and is an example of the system changing to better meet the needs of whanau,” Peeni Henare said.

“Introducing bowel screening earlier will save lives,” Aupito William Sio said.

“Pacific people who have bowel cancer are more likely to die from their cancer compared to non-Pacific people. Their cancer is usually found later when it is difficult to treat.

Increased participation, early detection and early treatment can result in a 90 per cent rate of five-year survival.

“As a result of this extension, 60,000 more people will be able to access screening every year. This is likely to result in earlier detection of bowel cancer for around 53 people and avoid as many as 44 deaths each year. 44 mothers, fathers, daughters and sons, people in our families will live longer. A $36 million investment is significant, but preventing the death of loved ones means much more,” Aupito William Sio said.

This initiative will roll out later this year across two regions, with a plan to go nationwide from July 2023.

“Māori and Pacific people deserve to live longer and healthier lives, and that is why this Government is reforming our healthcare system, and why Budget 2022 invests in making services like bowel screening fairer by lowering the screening age. We encourage our whānau to follow the advice of the National Bowel Screening campaign and ‘make the time to screen’. This test is easy to do at home and could save your life,” Peeni Henare said.

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