BETWEEN 70 and 100 are diagnosed with cancer every year at the Colonial War Memorial Hospital in Suva.
This was revealed by the hospital's head obstetrician and gynaecologist, Dr James Fong, during a special tour of the hospital by the acting Australian High Commissioner, Judith Robinson on Thursday. Dr Fong said 40 to 50 of those cases were cervical cancer.
He said the hospital faced the challenge of being unable to screen enough women who were at risk of contracting cancer. However, he said there was a low follow-up rate for women who were tested positive.
Dr Fong said the hospital invested a lot in organising tests for those women but could not force them to come back for follow-ups.
"A lot of them get scared for whatever reason and most of these reasons are personal, so they don't turn up for treatment," he said.
Dr Fong expressed hope that the vaccine program implemented last year for teenage girls would show benefits in years to come.
"We'll measure the success rate of the program in 10 to 20 years time when hopefully, there will be decreases in the rate of cervical cancer," he said.
Dr Fong said there was reasonable response last year and that once the program was up and running this year, more girls would receive the vaccine.