Editorial comment – A worthwhile campaign

ASIDE from this month being an important one for us in terms of history, it is also one to highlight a health issue that is a major concern.

At this time last year, Fiji Cancer Society board member Makrava Wilson highlighted an important point.

Seventy-nine per cent of deaths in the country, he said at the time, were because of non-communicable diseases.

However, his next statement pointed straight at a disease that was then ranked the third leading cause of death in the country.

Breast cancer was the number one killer among women in the country.

This form of cancer, he says, begins in the breast tissue and is the second most common type of cancer, mainly affecting women.

He pointed out that the prognosis for stage 4 breast cancer is not good. The five-year survival rate, he said, was only 16 per cent.

Given the high incidence and destructive nature of breast cancer, he pointed out that early detection and treatment of this disease was a high priority.

If Mr Makrava’s points weren’t bad enough, Maria McGoon, who was the Oncology staff nurse at the Colonial War Memorial Hospital at the time, said the number of patients suffering from colorectal cancer had increased over time.

There are many triggers of cancer such as lifestyle habits, eating habits and so on, she pointed out.

She reiterated the message of early detection and check-ups. Aside from the fact that we will celebrate Independence Day this month, we also have Pinktober.

The message of Pinktober must be disseminated to the masses. Having come back from the brink of death, cancer survivors are embracing major lifestyle changes.

There is added value placed on family time and being positive can make a difference, they say.

Perhaps we can learn a lot from them. Enough of all the talk of doom and gloom! It is very important to note that people do survive.

The critical factor though is early detection. To have a loved one suffering from cancer can be emotionally and financially draining.

For some families, it is a sad experience to see their loved one make the transition from being a lively person to being bedridden and very ill.

This is a worthwhile campaign that deserves attention and acknowledgment and The Fiji Times has long been a very strong supporter of Pinktober.

For all those who make an effort to be a part of this worthy cause, you do make a difference.

It takes courage to give up your time, money, and effort for something like this.

To the many patients and their family members, you are all heroes.

You give patients hope. We do take a lot of things for granted.

Sometimes we do need to be reminded about the resilience of the human spirit, and the beauty of sharing, and of bringing comfort to a fellow human being.

Pinktober is important.

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