Sapuri: PNG reports high cancer rate

Main Stories, National

The National, Friday July 20th, 2012

PAPUA New Guinea has one of the highest rates of oral and cervical cancer in the world, a gynae­cologist says.
At the launching of the new vaccine, Gardasil, last week at the Pacific International Hospital in Port Moresby, Dr Mathias Sapuri said a health department report had shown increases in cases of cancer among women.
He said statistics from 2000-04 showed breast cancer in the 15-44 age groups rose
from 8.49% per 100,000 in 2000 to 46.5% in 2004.
Cervical cancer increased from 69.8% per 100,000 in 2000 to 96.7% in 2004.
Oral cancer also rose from 26.6% 100,000 in 2000 to 41.7% in 2004 in the same age group.
“Real figures could be higher as technology and data are not up to date,” he said.
Sapuri said cervical cancer was the leading killer of women in the country, claiming more than 3,000 lives every year.
He said women usually only sought medical intervention when cancer was at a late stage and when doctors could do little to help them.
“It is like a death sentence to women when doctors can’t do much, they eventually succumb to cancer and die,” Sapuri said.
He said lifestyle ha­bits such as smoking, having multiple sex partners, not breast feeding, obesity and drinking alcohol were a major contributing factor.
He said Gardasil prevented the spread of the human papilloma virus during sex, which was responsible for causing cervical cancer.
The Gardasil vaccine is available at the hospital for K350 per dose and females between ages nine and 26 are required to take three doses.