Here are just some of the ways your help has enabled us to make real change happen:
Advocate– Throughout the year we called on the Ministry of Health (MoH) to train more specialists to improve access to diagnostic services for bowel cancer screening around the country. As part of CANGO (the alliance of Cancer Non-Governmental Organisations) we called on the government to improve the access to new cancer medicines and treatments in New Zealand. And we collaborated with the Cancer Society in promoting #cancerandme patient stories around the Cancer Crossroads conference.
Support – We are continually promoting our amazing bowel cancer support group for patients and whānau, and have seen a 46% increase in people joining. Our Patient Services Directory is nearly complete and we expect to have that live on our website in the next few weeks. We are proud to support the DHBs as they continue their bowel screening roll-outs around the country. We have been to show this support with the free use of our giant colon, the attendance of one of our Community Ambassadors at the launch, educational materials to give out and our support of the roll out through our social media channels.
Educate -As part of our Never Too Young campaign booklets were sent to health professionals all around New Zealand to educate them, that bowel cancer can strike anyone of any age. Bowel Cancer NZ attended and had a stand at the GP conference in Rotorua and at the New Zealand Society of Gastroenterology conference in Dunedin. We have also just translated our awareness pamphlet into Te Reo Māori, Samoan, Tongan, Cook Island Māori and Chinese and we will soon have these available as pdf’s online and in print.
Awareness – We were able to run our very first Never Too Young campaign in 2018 which was solely around raising awareness that bowel cancer is not just an older persons disease, but also affects those under 50 years old. We have been very active in raising the profile of bowel cancer in the media in the last year. This has been through encouraging patients to share their stories and alongside our spokespeople, all talking about the issues central to this disease.
Research – Bowel Cancer New Zealand was proud to fund – ‘New Zealanders’ experiences and pathways to a diagnosis of bowel cancer: a cross-sectional descriptive study of a younger cohort’. It is the first study to present bowel cancer patients’ perspectives and experiences of the pathways to diagnosis in New Zealand and as a charity we felt research was needed in this area.