200 cancer cases

OUT of about 600 new cancer cases diagnosed each year, 200 are breast cancer cases.

These were the statistics presented by Dr Josese Turagava, a consultant surgeon at the Colonial War Memorial Hospital in Suva.

He said about 140 cases were recorded last year.

Dr Turagava said many women still opted for traditional alternative forms of medicine.

“In CWM and other hospitals around the country, we have chemotherapy available even though we don’t have radiotherapy treatment available in Fiji,” he said.

He said they were focusing more on awareness at the community level as there was still a need to change the mind-set of some members of the community.

“We want to spread the good word that breast cancer is curable in its early stages.

“The ladies only come to us when the lumps are really big, particularly the iTaukei ladies. They come when they have paralysis, or when the cancer has spread to the bones.”

Dr Turagava said he was glad the efforts of the Fiji Cancer Society to reach out to the community was gaining strength.

He said in other countries, a majority of cases involved cancer lumps which were only about one centimetre in size.

“In Fiji over the past five years or so, I’ve never seen a lump smaller than 5cm. So our humble plea to the community, cancer is curable so you have to come in early.”

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