International researcher Dr Jackie Bews was of two minds whether to do the bowel screening test when it arrived in the mail.
At 74, she was fit and active and had no reason to believe there was anything wrong with her health. Then, on doing some research (that’s her thing!) she learned that Wairarapa DHB was one of only a few DHBs to offer bowel screening programme, so she decided she may as well take advantage of the free test.
She was stunned to get a call to say the test was positive. "Looking back, I had extreme tiredness for a few months but I put that down to the long hours I was working with my research projects. It turned out it was due to my red blood cells being depleted due to the cancer I didn’t know I had."
"Bowel screening picked this up just in time. The surgery was successful and I’ve now got a stoma bag for life. But I look at all the positive things. If I hadn’t had access to free bowel screening, things may be very different.”