NZ bowel cancer deaths rates falling

  • 02/02/2016
NZ bowel cancer deaths rates falling

Fewer New Zealanders are being diagnosed or killed by bowel cancer but despite the downward trend, incidence rates are still among the highest in the world.

New Zealand is one of nine countries, including Australia and the United States, where bowel cancer diagnoses and mortality rates are falling according to new research released today.

But New Zealand's bowel cancer rates are still among the world's highest.

The research, published in medical journal Gut, also found that bowel cancer patterns and trends may be linked to economic development and the adoption of a Western lifestyle.

Estimated rates of new cases were around 40 per 100,000 in certain countries across Europe, North America and Oceania in 2012 but were eight times lower in several African countries.

"The higher the HDI [Human Development Index], the higher was the incidence of bowel cancer," the report said.

"In countries with a very high HDI the number of new cases was, on average, six times higher than in countries with a very low HDI."

Globally around 1.4 million people were diagnosed with bowel cancer in 2012, killing around 700,000.

In New Zealand the disease kills 1200 people a year and is the second-most fatal cancer.