Age limit on cancer tests harms Maori
Changes to remove inequities in the national bowel cancer screening programme which discriminate against Maori could and should be removed immediately, a senior health researcher says.
The programme is being introduced progressively around New Zealand, and provides free bowel cancer screening for 60-74-year-olds.
It started in the southern region last year, and most recent statistics show a 71% participation rate, well ahead of the national target of 60%.
However, the age range of the programme discriminates against Maori, Sue Crengle, a Southland GP and associate professor at Otago Medical School, said.
“Over 50% of Maori bowel cancer is diagnosed before 60,” Dr Crengle said.
“By having that age range, we are deliberately failing to diagnose a third of Maori bowel cancer cases.