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Good result . . .Twizel man Dene Madden (right) and his surgeon Rene Van Den Bosch get together again after Mr Madden's bowel cancer surgery. PHOTO: SUPPLIED

by Claire Allison

South Canterbury’s bowel screening programme has already detected three cancers.

The National Bowel Screening Programme (NBSP) was launched in the South Canterbury region just over eight months ago.

South Canterbury District Health Board NBSP clinical lead Dr Thomas Caspritz says the programme is tracking really well with a participation rate, as at June 18, of 65% the national target of 60% participation.

More than 2400 South Canterbury people have taken part by using the home test kit.

Of those, more than 2200 returned tests had shown a negative result, and another 120 tests had come back as positive for the presence of blood.

So far, 77 people in the region had got bowel screening programme colonoscopies and in about 80% of those cases, polyps had been found and removed.

Three people have been diagnosed with early-stage bowel cancer.

One of those was 67-year-old Twizel man Dene Madden, who received his test kit at home in mid-January and did the test straight away and sent it off.

He received a positive result soon after and was referred to the South Canterbury board’s NBSP team.

Mr Madden had no symptoms indicating anything was amiss.

“I had absolutely no symptoms at all and it never even dawned on me that I had an issue.”

Mr Madden said things moved quickly after that.

“I sent the test in on a Wednesday afternoon and the following Monday the medical centre rang requesting me to come in,” he said.

“They explained the test results thoroughly and booked me in to Timaru Hospital for a colonoscopy. The appointment was a fortnight after, which was, I thought, very fast work.”

Mr Madden underwent a colonoscopy in March at the Timaru Hospital Endoscopy Unit, and surgeon Rene Van Den Bosch removed some polyp specimens and sent them for biopsy analysis.

One of these came back showing it was an advanced adenomatous polyp and bowel cancer was diagnosed.

Mr Madden then had surgery at Timaru Hospital. The cancer looked to have been fully removed and he was undergoing chemotherapy.

Team effort . . . Twizel man Dean Madden (second from left) is full of praise for the team involved in his care, (from left) surgeon Rene Van Den Bosch, NBSP nurse Carla Spence, National Bowel Screening Programme clinical lead doctor Thomas Caspritz and endoscopy nurse Jill Welford. PHOTO: SUPPLIED”I am one of the lucky people who has never been to a hospital for anything before, so my fears were all due to ignorance as to what happens, what you take and what you do.

“However, I would have to say the staff, and I mean all the staff, could not have been better or more helpful.”

Everything was carefully explained to him in an understandable manner, which he believed was very important because he reckoned when you were diagnosed with cancer you were still in some shock.

“They supplied an after hours number for me to ring if I needed clarifications or had any more questions.

“I can only congratulate them on their work: it was superb.”

Mr Madden emphasised the importance to those in the South Canterbury community between aged from 60 to 74 to complete the bowel-screening test.

“This is extremely important, even if you have no symptoms,” he said.

“Still complete a test. It could save your life.”