Every hour at least one New Zealander dies from cancer.

That's more than 180 every week, or 9500 a year.

Close to 800 New Zealanders who die of cancer each year could be saved if we had Australia's survival rates.

Bowel cancer is a tragic example. Three-quarters of cases are curable if caught early, but only 60 per cent of Kiwis diagnosed with the disease survive – about 1200 Kiwis diagnosed each year will die.

One will be a young Auckland mum who did everything right but was let down by the system at least seven times, including her symptoms being dismissed as "girl problems".

If Kim Girbin hadn't used her mortgage money to pay for a $3500 colonoscopy it's likely she'd already be dead.

"I was young, fit and healthy so I was put on an eight-month waiting list unless I paid, which I did and was seen the next day."

But even then it was too late.

"Literally, they couldn't even get the camera into my bowel, the tumour was that big."


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