Symptoms & statistics

New Zealand has one of the highest incidences of bowel cancer in the world. Each year about 3,000 people are diagnosed with the disease and more than 1,200 will die.

Bowel cancer symptoms

The first step you can take to protect against bowel cancer is to be aware of the symptoms. And most importantly, see your GP if you are at all concerned.

  • Bleeding from the bottom (rectal bleeding)
  • Change of bowel motions over several weeks that come and go
  • Anaemia
  • Persistent or periodic severe abdominal pain
  • A lump or mass in the abdomen
  • Tiredness and loss of weight for no obvious reason

Even if you don’t have these symptoms you may still have bowel cancer.

Find out how to order a bowel screening kit here.

John nearly found out the hard way…

“Lucky I checked with my doctor. I had no obvious symptoms but had my regular screening and found the cancer early enough to stop it.”

– John

Statistics of bowel cancer rates in New Zealand

Bowel Cancer affects people of all ages

  • Bowel cancer is the second highest cause of cancer-related death in NZ, 2nd to Lung cancer
  • The incidence of bowel cancer in New Zealand is amongst the highest in the world
  • 3000 + New Zealanders are diagnosed with bowel cancer every year
  • 1200 + will die from bowel cancer every year
  • 300 + under 50 will be diagnosed with bowel cancer each year
  • It is estimated that 1 in 18 New Zealanders will develop bowel cancer in their lifetime

Remember – While bowel cancer is more common in the 50 years + age group, bowel cancer affects people of all ages.

If you have symptoms of concern, do not accept ‘you’re too young to have bowel cancer’ as an explanation for your symptoms – ask your GP to be referred for further investigations.

Remember – if you are still concerned, you can seek a second opinion from another doctor.

Start the process
There are two ways to start the process of getting checked for Bowel Cancer: