Latest News 24 June 2019 | A Manurewa resident owes his life to the National Bowel Screening Programme, which was launched in Counties Manukau a year ago.
Sixty-one-year-old Society Pasila (Sila)Wilson was one of more than 37,000 residents invited to participate in the programme and encouraged to do the bowel screen test. For Sila, it was a no brainer to do the test given there was a family history of bowel cancer.
“My grandfather and father had bowel cancer, so when the test came in the mail, I did the test and sent it away,” Sila says.“My doctor rang me about the result, so I went in to see him. They found something wasn’t right. He made an appointment for me to go to the Manukau SuperClinic for another test.”
Sila had a colonoscopy to find out if there was a problem in the bowel. A colonoscopy can identify whether polyps or cancers are present. Polyps are not cancers, but may turn into a cancer over a number of years. Sila's results confirmed he had Stage One bowel cancer.
“They removed all the polyps, I had nine of them, but they suspected one of them may turn into [bowel] cancer. They did further tests to see if it was cancer. The result came back positive. Luckily we found it early.”
In April this year, Sila had surgery to remove the cancer.
“At my stage in life, it’s important to be fit and healthy. You prepare for the surgery and afterwards you feel really good. The staff were really supportive and encouraging.”
Before Sila did the test, he didn’t have any issues with his health. He didn’t suspect anything was wrong. The result was a blow on his family.
“When I first found out, I was really sad. My family were really sad because they thought I was going to go. Once I went through the process, it was a lot easier. I really encourage everyone to do it. Your loved ones will be worried.”
Fully recovered from his surgery and now back at his printing job at Sato Ltd, the Manurewa-based father of four children and five mokopuna is now encouraging everyone to do the test.
“Do the job, put it in the envelope, and hope for the best. It’s good if you find it early, rather than late. It only takes five minutes,” he says.“I play rugby league in the masters division for Mangere East. They all know about it. I encourage the men in my team to do the test. It’s better to do it early then find out when it’s too late.”
It’s more important than ever for participants to do the test and send it back.
“Sila is a great example of someone who seems fit and well, but sometimes we never know what health problem may be around the corner. By being proactive and doing the test, Sila’s life was saved,” Clinical lead for the Counties Manukau Health National Bowel Screening Programme Dr Alasdair Patrick says. “Through our Counties Manukau bowel screening programme we see people like Sila every week. If you or one of your whaanau are between the ages of 60-74, then I strongly encourage you to get involved and do the simple test. It’s free and may save your life.”
Bowel cancer is the second highest cause of cancer death in New Zealand. Currently, more than 3,000 people are diagnosed with bowel cancer every year, with more than 1,200 dying from the disease each year. The programme saves lives by finding bowel cancer early when it can be successfully treated. Those eligible will be invited to take a screening test every two years.
For more information about the programme please visit www.timetoscreen.nz, or call 0800 924 432, or talk to your family doctor.