Nationwide Colorectal Screening in New Zealand: a tricky balance of improving overall population health and addressing inequalities

Wednesday, July 19th, 2017 | Kate Sloane | 2 Comments

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Dr Melissa McLeod and Professor Tony Blakely

In this blog we will discuss a paper recently published in Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers and Prevention [1] by the BODE3 team, which modelled a nationwide colorectal cancer (CRC) screening programme for New Zealand. We used multiple data sources, ranging from the results of the New Zealand pilot screening programme through Waitemata DHB, New Zealand cost and epidemiological data on colorectal cancer, and outputs of screening trials internationally. Similar to modelling from other countries, we found that a national CRC screening programme is highly likely to be cost-effective, and will offer health gains to all screened population groups. However, because Māori in New Zealand are less likely to get CRC, and because screening programmes have been less successful in engaging with Māori, the health gains for the Māori population in New Zealand will be lower, meaning that this screening programme will increase inequalities in overall health for Māori compared to the rest of the population.

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