FIFTY per cent of children diagnosed with blood cancer in the country successfully survived surgery in the past two years.
World Health Organisation recorded 80 per cent of children survived the same surgery worldwide.
In an exclusive interview with The Fiji Times this week, Dr Khalid Mahmood a paediatric consultant with the Children's Oncology Unit at the Colonial War Memorial Hospital said blood cancer topped the list of children diagnosed with cancer followed by brain, kidney, bone cancer and eye cancer.
Dr Mahmood said 50 per cent of blood cancer operations were successful through the improvement of facilities, training provided to doctors and the assistance provided by Christchurch Children's Cancer Hospital in New Zealand from where doctors and nurses with specialist paediatric oncology expertise were staffed at the CWMH.
"Every year we expect 40 to 45 children diagnosed with cancer," he said.
"However, only 1 or 2 per cent of these patients survived surgery."
Currently there are six blood cancer patients, five brain patients, two bone cancer patients, four eye patients and three kidney patients at the Children's Ward.
However, Dr Mahmood said the number of children diagnosed with cancer continued to increase every year.
This, he said, could be caused through oncogene when virus inserted itself into the genome of the host cell in order to replicate and then removed itself to infect other cells, sometimes capturing a portion of the host cell's genome along with its own. Dr Mahmood said another reason was the lifestyle that people now live where they were less active and not physically fit, smoking and diet.
"That is why people in Fiji should stick to their traditional diet because it is healthy," Dr Mahmood said. "Now that people are exposed to the modern lifestyle, they tend to forget their roots which in fact is better and healthier."
Meanwhile, Dr Mahmood said Fiji's scenario was different where people need to be aware that cancer not only in children could be cured. He said although money was another problem, relevant stakeholders should provide training and logistics to reach out to patients in isolated areas particulary in outer islands.
He said lack of knowledge continued to distance patients from the hospital because information was not taken to them in the simpliest form. Dr Mahmood said people should be trained to speak all the dialects and have information disseminated to the grassroots that cancer can be treated so that they understand.