IT has been revealed that the highest number of deaths in Fiji is caused by cervical cancer and followed by breast cancer in women.
Health Minister Dr Neil Sharma said the improved national database and reporting strategies in record-keeping demonstrated the increased incidence and prevalence in the number of cases.
He said this as he launched the seventh Bushells Fiji's Biggest Morning Tea at the Holiday Inn in Suva yesterday. Dr Sharma says cervical and breast cancer are the major causes of deaths in Fiji. "Liver, gut, prostrate and testicular cancers are now becoming common in our men while blood cancer remain a major issue with our children," he said.
Dr Sharma said globally 70 per cent of cancers were diagnosed late and Fiji was no different. "The concept of an annual check-up or screening has not taken off yet," he said.
According to figures from the World Health Organisation (WHO), the incidence of cancer in Fiji is about 129 per 100,000 people. Dr Sharma said his ministry continued to address the growing burden of diseases in the country. "Obesity, communicable, non communicable disease and cancer are all interlinked."
To address the cancer risks in the country the Health Ministry has taken measures such as the Best Buys Approach that applies fully to cancer prevention, enhanced advocacy through collaborative partnerships, and development of a Basic Oncology Unit is being studied and once established will be able to undertake radiotherapy, chemotherapy together with surgery.
Meanwhile, Fiji Cancer Society president Nirmala Nambiar said through the Bushells Fiji's Biggest Morning Tea they were able to raise $68,398 last year. Ms Nambiar said their focus this time was on early diagnosis and called on members of the public to support them.