WOMEN in Fiji have a 30 per cent better chance of surviving cancer now than 20 years ago, thanks to early detection.
Fiji Cancer Society acting president Dr Tukaha Mua said compared with the countries elsewhere in the world, this was a very positive sign.
He explained that incidences of breast cancer last year had overtaken cervical cancer as the most common form of cancer in women in Fiji.
He said this was simply because more women were coming forward to be screened for breast cancer.
"So now women in Fiji have a better chance of surviving breast cancer because they are coming to be screened and we can catch it early, improving their chances of survival," Dr Mua said.
He explained that breast cancer was more common in women over the age of 55 years and as the population got older, more and more women were taking the initiative to get screened.
"And this is the same thing we are doing with other diseases like diabetes. We continue to create awareness on the importance of getting screened and what we are seeing now is a result of that awareness.
"We have improved with our data collection and thanks to the Ministry of Health, have improved recording systems."
CWM Hospital consultant general surgeon Josese Turagava in an email correspondence with this newspaper echoed Dr Mua's comments.
He said data collection systems had improved and the Health Ministry had also improved their recording systems.
"In our breast clinic weekly, we have 40-50 ladies come weekly of which we would pick out one to two new cases a week," Dr Turagava said.
He said there were 217 breast cancer cases detected last year. According to the latest WHO data published in April 2011, breast cancer deaths in Fiji reached 60 or 1.46 per cent of total deaths.
The age adjusted death rate for breast cancer is 18.33 per 100,000 people and this ranks Fiji at 72 in the world.