Ignorance has led to many deaths over the years: Official

Health Watch

IGNORANCE has led to the death of many to cancer over the years, a doctor says.
Port Moresby General Hospital (PMGH) head of cancer clinic Dr Peter Olali said people knew that betel nuts (buai) caused mouth cancer yet they continued chewing it even to the point of ignoring warning signs such as sores in their mouths.
He said women paid no attention to the small lumps in their breasts until it became big and by then the cancer was widespread.
Dr Olali said there were some cancers that could not be treated in Papua New Guinea but for those that could be treated early detection, diagnosis would enable successful treatment.
“We have a lot if ignorant people here who come in very late,” he said.
“The patients that are admitted are really the ones that are in the end stage.
“These patients would be discharged and go home but they would always return to the hospital because they were in pain, cannot breath or due to lack of blood.
“So when they are okay they go but they would come back and die.
“For the end stage cancer patients we provide palliative care until they die.
“Other cancer patients when they come early we diagnose and treat and they don’t get admitted.
“They get their medicines and then they go home and they survive.
“Some that come in the early stage are put on treatment. The rest since they arrive in the late stage have to be admitted.”
Dr Olali said 100 per cent of those that go to the cancer clinic with late stage cancer die.
On the other hand, he said 100 per cent of those that visit the clinic in the early stage (such as stage 1 and 2) survive.
He said the biggest difference the new cancer treatment facility under construction at PMGH would have was providing radiation therapy as part of treatment because presently PMGH was only offering chemotherapy and surgeries.
“All our patients that missed out on the radiation part of the treatment now they will have it.
“Survival will still depend on when they came.
“Even if we have the radiation facility available and patients come late yet – what’s the difference so that’s the issue.”
He said early diagnosis was the key to successful treatment.