WDHB welcomes publication of bowel cancer data

30 June 2016
Whanganui District Health Board (WDHB) has welcomed the publication of data released today by the Health Quality & Safety Commission which describes treatment patterns and disease outcomes for Whanganui patients with bowel cancer.

WDHB chief medical officer Frank Rawlinson says it’s important for our community and clinicians to be aware of these results so they can understand how bowel cancer is affecting us all.

“Our clinicians have noted for example, that Whanganui is an outlier for permanent colostomy formation and they are considering the implications.

“This result may be because our patients are presenting with advanced stage of disease where colostomy is the only option.

“We know that people who present late, or as an emergency, have poorer outcomes so Whanganui DHB encourages anyone with symptoms potentially related to colorectal (bowel) cancer to see their GP or Iwi Health Provider so they can be referred for prompt investigation.
“Symptoms include rectal bleeding, change in bowel habit to looser or more frequent, unexplained weight loss or anaemia. It is particularly important for people with a history of bowel cancer in their family, or those over 50 years old, to seek medical attention for any of these symptoms at an early stage.
“We understand that it may be daunting to see a doctor about these symptoms, but if bowel cancer is caught early, it is easier to treat.
“Whanganui DHB is delighted by the announcement in the 2016 budget regarding the introduction of bowel screening. The programme will be rolled out progressively throughout the country. We look forward to providing bowel screening to our population and we encourage all eligible residents to take up this opportunity and to encourage their whanau/family to get checked once it starts.”

Dr Rawlinson says WDHB surgeons have been doing outstanding work in this field. They are committed to achieving the best outcomes for our community. 


The WDHB says the data provided by the Health Quality & Safety Commission provides a good starting point for questioning the reasons for disparities in health outcomes throughout New Zealand and examining the reasons for regional differences.

Dr Frank Rawlinson says the WDHB faces many challenges due to the level of poverty in the region. For this reason he believes funding should be targeted to help reduce inequities.