Cancer: PNG’s worst nightmare

Editorial

CANCER is an unkind disease.
Cancer will continue to be a leading cause of death into the future, and patients and families will need care, support and
realistic expectations to cope with it.
The process is painful, depressing and heartbreaking for everyone involved.
Virtually everyone knows someone who has been affected by the disease.
For them, it is not just talk.
Cancer is real.
Most know there is no hope, it is just a matter of time before they leave behind their loved ones.
Most of us don’t know what to expect when a person is close to death.
The unfamiliar is often very scary, so understanding
what may happen can help
ease the fear and anxiety of the dying person, family and caregivers.
In general, as a person gets closer to death, their body functions start to slow down.
But it’s important to understand that every situation is different.
Having one or more of the signs doesn’t necessarily mean that the person is close to death.
Only those who have lost a loved one to cancer know that Papua New Guinea is a long way away from providing effective and efficient treatment for cancer patients in the country.
Because of what’s not available in the country, families pool together whatever little finance they, and through fundraising and donations, they send their loved ones overseas to receive treatment.
Only cancer survivors would be able to share their experience of how they felt when they received the ruthless news of being diagnosed with cancer, how they endured and how they managed to get through it.
More work needs to be done as the number of people dying from all forms of cancer in Papua New Guinea is increasing.
The Health Department’s Dr Goa Tau said cancer was a hidden burden in the country and the main reason was that the documentation of cancer in terms of histological, serological and even pathological reporting was very poor.
It is frustrating and sad there are a lot of people who die from cancer without any proper diagnose.
Some patients visit hospitals and health facilities with symptoms of cancer but most times the symptoms were not diagnosed hence they die.
It all goes back to the lack of cancer specialists and cancer treatment facilities.
Dr Tau said two young doctors were sent to Zambia for radiation oncologist training and would return in three years and another radiation specialist was in Europe.
Cancer knows no boundaries and does not select who to attack and it can bring down one very fast when it attacks.
It is a disease that affects people indiscriminately.
It affects the rich, the poor and the middle-class; it cuts across all races and sexes.
It respects no man and no woman and, while you can make healthy decisions to lessen your chances of being its victim, it can still strike.
All of us are at risk.
Life can be very unfair but that is reality here in PNG and no, it’s not a bad dream.

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