AT least 60 women have died of cervical cancer in Fiji between the ages of 21 to 51 for not having regular Pap smear to detect changes in the cervix.
This was confirmed by sub-divisional medical officer north, Doctor Setareki Sowani at the Punjas Labasa Cancer Morning Tea.
“Cancer can be prevented and treated if diagnosed early therefore we appeal to members of the public especially our women to visit their nearest hospitals for screening and tests,” said Mr Sowani.
“We can prevent and reduce incidence of cancers by early screening and early diagnosis, which includes Pap smear and breast self examination, mammography in women and rectal examination and prostrate screening in men. Men over 40 who have risk factors of developing cancer should have rectal examination, prostrate examination and blood in the stool test every year,” he said. He also said women 25-years and over should have regular Pap smears annually and breast self examination every month.
“We sometimes take these instructions lightly but cancer is out there, we need to counter it, and this is possible through early detection and diagnosis,” Mr Sowani said.
“In Fiji, cancer mortality rate is 68.6 per 100,000 people and a prevalence rate of 8.45 per 1000 people.”
Mr Sowani said since 2010 cancer was the third leading cause of death in Fiji following heart attack and diseases of the circulatory system including stroke.