Overseas data suggests that up to 8 percent of people who are screened will have traces of blood in their sample. Of these, between 30 and 40 percent will have polyps and between 4 and 8 percent of them will have cancer.
Recent research and modeling suggests that annual bowel cancer mortality can be reduced by between 14 and 16 percent over a period of ten years by the use of a guaiac faecal occult blood test (FOBT). New Zealand is using a newer immunochemical FOBT where the number of lives saved over ten years is expected to be higher than with the guaiac test.
From October 2011, men and women aged 50 to 74 who do not have symptoms of bowel cancer and live in the Waitemata DHB are being invited to take part in a FREE Bowel Screening programme to check for early signs of bowel cancer. It involves participants taking the samples themselves at home using a test kit. The four-year bowel screening pilot will test whether bowel screening should be introduced throughout New Zealand and will be evaluated in 2015
GP's are responsible for taking action on any samples found to be positive i.e. If blood is found in sample the GP contacts patient to discuss results and refer to colonoscopy within 10 days.
NB Once the OTC test is processed the results will be sent to both the person and their GP.
Disclaimer: This site is intended to be flexible and frequently updated. While every effort has been made to ensure accuracy, all information should be verified.