Qalo: Pinktober has created a positive environment of support and empowerment

NTPC hosts Pinktober morning tea; (L-R) NTPC Director Dr Isimeli Tagicakiverata, survivors Mrs Kelera Naborisi, and Mrs Salote Qalo, with NTPC manager Maneesha Karan, and CWM General Surgeon Dr Ilaitia Delasau. Picture: SUPPLIED

Pinktober has created a positive environment of support and empowerment among communities over the years.

Cancer survivor Salote Qalo highlighted this during a Pinktober morning tea hosted by the Fiji National University’s (FNU) and National Training and Productivity Centre (NTPC) yesterday.

Mrs Qalo, 72, who was diagnosed in 2014 pointed out that more awareness needed to be created in interior rural villages.

“Women in rural communities need more education on breast cancer, what they can do and the treatment they can get because still many of them are unaware, and instead are choosing to suffer in silence,” Mrs Qalo said.

Joining Mrs Qalo at the event to share their courageous journeys with NTPC staff and students was Kelera Naborisi, who is also a cancer survivor.

Mrs Naborisi, who was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2018, said it was important for patients to accept the truth if detected positive and seek medical help.

“There is no point in living in a state of denial and letting the deadly disease grow in you,” Mrs Naborisi said.

“Acceptance will help you grow mentally strong and prepare you to fight the disease and survive. To be brave to fight cancer, you need to stay positive, and have faith in the Lord.”

CWM hospital general surgeon Dr Ilaitia Delasau spoke on getting the right medical treatment and reminded staff and students that there was no evidence of traditional/herbal medicine as a cure for cancer.

“People need to understand that cancer needs to be detected at an early stage, and treated medically,” Dr Delasau said.

“It is a misconception that herbal medicine cures cancer, there is no proof.”

He added that not many were aware that men could also contract breast cancer, but was more prevalent in women.

Director NTPC Dr Isimeli Tagicakiverata said the morning tea was an excellent opportunity to become aware of the issues related to cancer.

“We recently lost a senior staff at NTPC to breast cancer, and this initiative helps us understand and become aware how it feels to be affected by cancer,” Dr Tagicakiverata said.

“We can do our part by creating awareness, providing support, admiring the survivor’s ordeals, and honouring those who were taken, to create the required healthy environment to fight cancer.”

Fiji Cancer Society representative Luisa Hoyts received the funds raised by NTPC staff.

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