Change in life needed

CANCER mortality will continue to rise until there is a 360 degree turnaround in life.

These were the sentiments shared by Fiji Cancer Society chief executive officer Belinda Chan yesterday in response to the alarming statistics on cancer deaths recorded in Fiji since 2000.

In an interview last week, Ministry of Health and Medical Services’ national adviser for non-communicable diseases and wellness Dr Isimeli Tukana revealed that since 2000, an average of 700 people per year died from cancer.

Ms Chan said there were many factors that limited cancer patients from receiving the necessary cancer treatment they needed to survive.

She said most people were either in denial of their diagnosis, seeked alternative treatment or simply had the lack of knowledge, family support and financial resources to counteract the disease.

“For women, know your bodies, be mindful of the signs of breast cancer, learn to conduct breast self-examination and have regular Pap smears,” she said.

“For men, know your bodies, any abnormalities found, please present yourself to the nearest health centre.”

She encouraged people to have more dialogue with their family members on how cancer had affected their lives as this would also help create awareness on the disease.

Ms Chan said no one should ever fight cancer alone and if someone was in that situation, she encouraged them to contact the Fiji Cancer Society.

There are 173 patients who are supported by the Fiji Cancer Society, which was founded in 1993.

The society offers cancer education and health promotion, patient support services and finance development, including advocacy work.


Most common cancer in men:

1. Liver

2. Prostate

3. Lung

4. Stomach

5. Colon

Most common cancer in women:

1. Cervix (Reproductive system)

2. Breast

3. Uterus (Reproductive system)

4. Ovary (Reproductive system)

5. Liver

Known causes of cancer include:

l Genetics

l Tobacco use

l Bad diet

l Physical inactivity

l Sun and UV exposure

l Radiation

l Other carcinogens (environmental causes)

Leading a healthy life is a very good way to reduce your risk of cancer, looking at the list of known causes, there are some very clear steps you can take to reduce your risk of cancer, and also lead a healthier and happier life.

These are:

l Don’t use tobacco

l Eat a healthy diet

l Be active and maintain and healthy weight

l Reduce/moderate Alcohol Intake

l Practise safe sex and avoid risky behaviours

l Get immunised (HPV & hepatitis)

l Know your family medical history and get regular screenings

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