Early detection of cancer vital

Editorial

A WORLDWIDE annual campaign takes place this month – October, involving thousands of organisations and that is to highlight the importance of awareness, education and research on breast cancer.
In Papua New Guinea, the highest number of cancer patients that are diagnosed every year is breast cancer and oral cancer.
Specialist physician and medical oncologist from Port Moresby General Hospital Dr Peter Olali said they saw 20 patients every day.
He said out of that, 17 were oral and breast cancer and the rest were other ones, which meant the number of breast and oral cancer was high in the country.
Breast cancer is the most common killer of woman.
It is the second most common cancer among women after skin cancer.
Breast cancer is increasing at an alarming rate among young women in developing countries.
In PNG, breast cancer is the second highest after cervical cancer and is the top five cause of mortality due to cancer.
Cases of breast cancer have been shown to increase per year over the years.
Most are due to late clinical presentation, poor oncology and supporting care, high rate of treatment failures and defaulters are major causes of poor outcomes.
Cancer, in all forms, 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.
A patient’s battle in hopes of defeating it is often a long one.
The process is painful, depressing and heartbreaking for everyone involved.
Virtually, everyone knows someone who has been affected by the disease.
Any woman can get this cancer despite her status in society.
Life can be very unfair, but this is the reality in PNG. It is not a bad dream, it is real.
Just stop and think about what they go through every day.
Only those who have lost a loved one to cancer knows the patient’s battle in hope of defeating that dreaded enemy.
While those who can afford overseas treatment go, spare a thought about another cancer patient who does not have the luxury of doing that.
Currently, there is not sufficient knowledge on the causes of breast cancer, therefore, early detection of the disease remains the cornerstone of breast cancer control.
When breast cancer is detected early and if adequate diagnosis and treatment are available, there is a good chance that breast cancer can be cured.
It is not a good feeling to see a loved one waste away and die a slow and agonising death.
The feeling is made even worse when the doctors tell you that he or she would have saved a life if drug x or equipment y were available.
Treatment is expensive. There is no proper facility in the country to treat cancer and treatment overseas is the only option.
But it is not all that grime as there is some hope with the new centre coming up.
Once opened, there would be no more need for Papua New Guineans to travel overseas with world-class cancer and heart facilities at the Port Moresby General Hospital.
Remember, cancer is an unkind disease that knows no boundaries and does not select who to attack and it can bring down one very fast when it attacks.
While waiting for the centre to open, early diagnosis and treatment is the golden rule

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