Look out for warning signs of bowel cancer

Look out for warning signs of bowel cancer

19 June 2017

It’s one of those body parts that a lot of people don’t want to talk about, but a healthy bowel is crucial to our wellbeing.

So, let’s get talking and learn a bit more about our bowel.

The bowel, also called the colon or intestine, is a tube-like organ that is part of the alimentary canal or digestive tract - the small intestine leading from the stomach, with the large intestine ending at the anus or back passage.

Most digestion of food occurs in the small intestine, while the large intestine is where the leftovers form and get ready to leave our body. If our body is functioning well, we will have normal, healthy bowel movements but sometimes things can go wrong – one of the major indicators of this happening is when bowel motions change – there may be bleeding, we will notice that our movements are more fluid like and/or you may become constipated. These are warning signs and need to be checked out by a doctor.

Unfortunately, some of these symptoms can indicate bowel cancer, but, according to Bowel Cancer New Zealand, if caught early enough, 75% of bowel cancer cases can be cured.

New Zealand has one of the highest rates of bowel cancer and bowel cancer deaths in the developed world with more than 3000 people diagnosed and 1200 deaths from the disease each year.

Most bowel cancers start as benign growths on the wall of the bowel called polyps and will not go any further. One type, though, called adenoma can become cancerous and, if untreated, will form a tumour in the bowel, which can then metastasise - or spread - to other parts of the body, mainly the liver or lungs.

Te Korowai Hauora o Hauraki lead nurse, Esme Maloney says the earlier bowel cancer is caught, the easier it is to treat.

“This Month is Bowel Cancer Awareness month and an opportunity for people to become aware and recognise the signs and symptoms of bowel cancer,” she says. “If anyone has noticed any changes in their bowel movements or any other changes, they should see their doctor immediately.”

Other symptoms to look out for are soreness or strain when having a bowel motion, lumps and achiness, a persistent change in bowel habits, going to the toilet more often or experiencing looser stools for several weeks, abdominal pain - especially if severe, any lumps or mass in your tummy and weight loss and tiredness (a symptom of anaemia).

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Taking 10 minutes out of a woman's day could save her life

21 July 2018

Taking 10 minutes out of a woman's day could save her life. That woman could be your mother, wife, daughter, niece, auntie, nana – or it could be you.

Ten minutes is the time it takes to have a cervical screening (smear) test to detect abnormal cells in a woman’s cervix that could lead to cervical cancer. 

Every year 160 New Zealand women develop cervical cancer, with 50 dying from it. And yet it is one of the most preventable forms of cancer – as long as the cell changes that cause it are detected early.

Cervical cancer refers to the abnormal, uncontrolled growth of cells in the cervix, the lower part of the uterus (womb).  It usually develops very slowly, with the first signs showing up as ‘abnormal’ cells, which can then take more than 10 years to develop into cancer.

Te Korowai Hauora o Hauraki  Poukura Hauora - Clinical Services Manager - Taima Campbell says women and their whānau should make cervical screening a priority.

“Abnormal cell changes might not show any symptoms until they become cancerous, which is why early detection through screening and follow-up treatment is important,” she says.

“We can’t stress enough how important it is that our wāhine keep up to date with their smear tests because we know that they can save their life.”

Treatment can be as simple as removing the affected tissue.

Many wāhine are embarrassed or whakāma about having a cervical smear test and Taima says the clinic’s female nurses will do everything they can to make sure a woman feels comfortable during the short procedure. 

Without screening, about 1 in 90 women will develop cervical cancer, with 1 out of 200 dying from it, whereas with screening, 1 out of 570 women will develop cervical cancer, with 1 out of 1280 dying from it.

Three-yearly cervical smear tests are recommended for all women aged 20 to 70 who have ever been sexually active. 

Make an appointment to see one of our nurses by FREEPHONE phoning 0508 835 676. Te Korowai GP and Nurse clinics are in Thames, Paeroa, Te Aroha and Coromandel


Community input wanted for health care

12 July 2018

A Care in the Community wānanga will be held in Thames on July 26.

The aim of the wānanga is to look at what health services communities want locally and how they should be delivered.

The wānanga is an opportunity for consumers to be involved in the design of services.

Basketball fun for school holidays

6 July 2018

Keen basketballers from years 7 to 10 will have the opportunity to fine-tune their skills with a two-day school holiday programme in Thames.

The programme on July 16 and 17 is run by Laurence Were, who has been involved with the Breakers Champion Basketball Programme as well as school basketball programmes throughout Hauraki rohe.

Basketball is a great workout that builds endurance, develops balance, coordination, concentration and self-discipline as well as muscle. It is a great way to stay fit, learn about team playing – and it’s fun!! 

Jack Mc Lean Community Recreation Centre 

Thames High School

Monday 16th and Tuesday 17th April 

10am – 3pm

(Bring your own snacks and lunch and something to drink) 

If you have any questions please feel free to contact Debbie Petersen-Pilcher 0274321100 or 07 868 0033 or email:

Pare celebrates brighter life as a non-smoker

1 June 2018

Life is looking a lot brighter for Pare Ehrhorn since she gave up smoking nearly two months ago. 

She is saving almost $200 a week, no longer coughs in the morning, her singing voice has returned - along with a renewed confidence to sing - her brain is clearer, she has more energy and she now lives in a smokefree environment.

Pare, 50, says she decided to give up smoking after she had a “gutsful” of seeing the ongoing smoking culture within her own family.  

“My grown up children and husband smoke and my 19-year-old who lives at home and his friend who lives here also smoke.

 “I have grandchildren now and I just wanted to change the culture of our whole home.”

She says she wouldn’t have been able to quit without the backing of her whānau who have shown their support by not smoking within the family property.

“If they want a smoke, they leave the property to have one.”

She says this makes her feel well supported, respected and that they value her health.

And the bonus of having a smokefree home is that her whānau have also reduced their cigarette intake.

Pare decided to quit smoking after being introduced to the six-week Stop Smoking programme offered by Hauraki health provider Te Korowai Hauora o Hauraki.

The service offers free nicotine replacement therapy, one-to-one or group support as well as a monetary incentive.

 “I’m just grateful they have that service for the public,” Pare says. “And you can also check your carbon monoxide levels on a weekly basis to monitor yourself - you’re in charge, and can see your progress.” 

Pare knows there will likely be challenges ahead – she has been there before, having previously given up smoking for 15 years until three years ago when a personal trauma saw her reach for the cigarettes again. 

But she is all about moving forward, not backwards, and, while she says that stressful situations can always be a challenge, she hopes she now has the tools to see her through.

She is excited about her future, and the fact there are more positives on the horizon than negatives.

“I can see a future and it also makes me feel warm and fuzzy that we can offer to help our kids out if they need it financially.”

She encourages those who want to give up smoking to just try and give it a go.

“It can be about the timing, so if it doesn’t work this time, just keep trying, don’t give up. 

“And surround yourself with the right people that can support you.” 

 Do you want to stop smoking?  You can STOP Once and for All with our FREE six-week programme includes support and nicotine replacement therapy to help you Stop Smoking in a gradual way. 

If you are Smokefree four weeks after your Quit Date, you will receive a $50 voucher. If you are pregnant and still Smokefree after your Quit Date, you will receive up to $300 in vouchers.

Contact: Melena or Jodi - 07 868 0033;

World Smokefree Day was yesterday, May 31.

Caption: PARE EHRHORN, 50, right, from Thames, celebrates two months as a non-smoker with her Stop Smoking support person, Te Korowai Hauora o Hauraki Poukura Oranga/Service Manager – Public and Community Health Services. Debbie Petersen-Pilcher.

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