Cancer unit needs more staff, facilities

National, Normal

The National, Wednesday 15th May 2013


THE National Cancer Unit (NCU) at Angau Memorial Hospital in Lae, Morobe, requires improved facilities and staff to cater for increase in patients, visiting Australian cancer specialist Dr Graeme Morgan says.

He said the NCU required three specialist machines, five radiation oncologists, five medical physicists and 25 radiation therapists.

Morgan is leading a team of five cancer specialist to PNG to treat cancer patients.

He said the NCU also required a hematologist or a specialist in identifying blood diseases to verify cancer in the blood systems. 

Morgan said a hematologist would complement the existing oncology, surgical, radiation and medical units that lack specialists to corroborate with Angau’s only oncologist, Dr John Niblett.

“It is crucial for the government of Papua New Guinea to invest in improving cancer facilities and train specialist to save cost in future for the health of the country.

“Cancer is treatable at early stages, however, cervix and breast cancer involving women is an issue to be solved, like elsewhere around the world, most cases experienced in PNG are in advanced stages that kill,” Morgan said.

He added that the purpose of their visit was to improve cancer care and control based on a 2001 AusAID report on the dreaded disease.

The five specialists from Prince of Wales Hospital and University of Sydney visited Niblett and hospital’s chief executive officer Dr Polapoi Chalau and staff yesterday.