CERVICAL cancer is a serious challenge in Fiji and it is the commonest cause for cancer deaths and affects relatively young women who are in the prime of their lives, says the Fiji Obstetrics and Gynaecology Society.
According to research conducted in the country from 2003 to 2009, it is estimated that the mortality rate from cervical cancer was 23.9 per 100,000 people.
The study also revealed that Fiji had one of the highest estimated rates of cervical cancer incidence and mortality in the Pacific region.
In a press statement issued on Friday, the society said cancer was preventable and in many countries the disease was no longer a major health issue.
"Whilst the planned vaccination campaign is timely for Fiji we will need to have strategies for early detection of precancerous lesions when the condition is easily treatable," the statement read.
"Another benefit of the screening program will be to detect cancer in its early stages for which surgical treatment is available locally.
"If the woman presents when the disease is advanced she would need radiotherapy. This is currently not available in Fiji."
The society held its second scientific conference at the Tanoa International Hotel in Nadi over the weekend and Dr Sunil Pillay, a former Fijian Infertility expert and Laparoscopic surgeon now practising in Auckland, conducted a session at the meeting and held a series of workshops for post graduates in the Masters of Medicine in Obstetrics & Gynaecology, from the College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences at the FNU.