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Delay in intestinal cancer testing as DHBs fight demand

More people expect a key test for bowel cancer as some District Health Boards struggle to cope with the growing demand.

  Samples of a colon biopsy to be sent to a laboratory, at the Diaconesses Croix Saint-Simon Hospital, Paris, France (2009).

Samples of a colon biopsy to be sent to a laboratory.
Photo: A. BENOIST / BSIP

The documents delivered to RNZ under the Official Information Act reveal the size of the problem as the DHB implement a national screening program.

The details published by the Ministry of Health show that more people expected more time than they should, routine and surveillance colonoscopies throughout the country in December two years ago.

In general, the number of patients waiting more than two weeks for an urgent diagnosis doubled to 44.

There was also a three percent increase in the numbers also waiting for long for routine colonoscopies to control the less severe symptoms.

For example, Northland had 476 people waiting for a routine procedure in December, more than four times the 2015 figure.

The director of the National Gut Detection Program, Susan Parry, said the numbers are a concern.

Ms. Parry said that DHBs are doing more, but a growing awareness and an aging population are driving demand.

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