DESPITE the high breast and cervical cancer death rates, women are still reluctant to get themselves tested.
This, according to a visiting medical team that specialises in breast and cervical cancer screening.
The team has conducted annual clinics at the Patan Health Clinic in Nadi over the past 12 years.
Former Fiji citizen and registered nurse Damyenti Chandra said getting people, especially women, to take advantage of the screening and testing opportunities was one of the challenges they faced on a regular basis.
"Some years back, I came across a woman.
"She died prematurely from cervical cancer, leaving behind a disabled child.
"She would probably be alive if she had Pap smear screenings," Mrs Chandra said.
"There are so many women who are alive today because of early detection by our screenings."
Mrs Chandra said women should be aware early detection of cervical and breast cancer saved lives.
"Cervical cancer is caused by a virus and both men and women carry this virus.
"It is a sexually transmitted disease, so my plea to both men and women is to practise safe sex and avoid multiple partners.
"Women should get their Pap smears every two years and breast exams."
Milika Wata-Marshall of the Western branch of the Fiji Cancer Society said they supported the work of the medical team.
"It is part of our initial programs of awareness and education and in turn offers the screening for women, specifically in breast and cervical tests," she said.
"The clinic is open year around on Tuesdays and Thursdays once the team is gone.
"It is staffed by a trained nurse who can screen and educate and make referrals, including Pap smears and breast exams.
"The clinic phone number is 8391125 where people can make appointments."