June is bowel cancer awareness month. New Zealand has one of the highest incidences of bowel cancer in the world. Each year about 3,000 New Zealanders are diagnosed with bowel cancer and more than 1,200 die from the disease. Bowel cancer is the second highest cause of cancer death in New Zealand, second only to lung cancer.
Being aware of the symptoms is the first step you can take to prevent bowel cancer. Symptoms may come and go, so don't delay - no matter what age you are, see your GP if you experience any of the following:
- Bleeding from the bottom (rectal bleeding).
- Change in bowel habit over several weeks that comes and goes.
- Persistent or periodic severe abdominal pain.
- A lump or mass in the abdomen.
- Tiredness and loss of weight for no obvious reason.
Mercy Hospital's expert team can support you throughout your bowel cancer diagnosis, treatment and surveillance.
There are several ways to detect bowel cancer, however colonoscopy is the gold standard and can aid diagnosis and guide treatment. Colonoscopy services are offered by a number of medical specialists at Mercy Hospital's day surgery facility, Manaaki.
If you have a confirmed bowel cancer diagnosis, you can be referred to Mercy's oncology service, Mercy Cancer Care. Mercy Cancer Care offers oncology consultations and a full range of systemic treatment options (including those not available in the public sector) from a purpose built unit in central Dunedin.
Demand for colonoscopy is immense, so Mercy Hospital is very happy to welcome a new gastroenterologist to provide care for patients, Dr Kyle Hendry. Dr Hendry will see patients from Suite 7 in Marinoto Clinic and will be performing colonoscopy and gastroscopy at Manaaki.
Mercy Hospital credentialed specialists performing colonoscopy at Manaaki:
- Mr Andrew Audeau (Suite 6, phone 03 464 0970)
- Mr Tom Elliott (Suite 6, phone 03 464 0970)
- Dr Kyle Hendry (Suite 7, phone 03 471 6653)
- Dr Jon Potter (Suite 7, phone 03 471 6653)
- Dr Martin Schlup (Mercy Care East, phone 03 464 0640)
- Professor Michael Schultz (Suite 7, phone 03 471 6653)
- Mr Mark Smith (Suite 6, phone 0800 377 6484)
- Associate Professor Mark Thompson-Fawcett (Suite 22, phone 03 467 6608)
For more information about bowel cancer, visit Bowel Cancer New Zealand's website.
Mercy Hospital staff are participating in Dry July to raise funds for Bowel Cancer New Zealand. Participate or donate here.