PAPUA New Guinea is experiencing a sharp increase in cervical cancer, the leading cancer specialist at the Angau Memorial Hospital in Lae, Dr John Niblett, has said.
Dr Niblett said although there were no actual statistics available at this stage to confirm the increase, the number of cases being referred to the cancer unit at Angau showed a definite increase in cervical cancer in women.
Dr Niblett said the women affected were in the 35-45 years age group, which were younger than in European countries.
He urged women to have regular check-ups.
This would ensure that an early detection could be treated immediately to save their lives.
The most common cancers being referred to the cancer unit were cervical cancer, breast cancer and mouth cancer.
Dr Niblett said patients could be treated at the unit but emphasised that early detection could give the patients a better chance at treatment.
Surgery, radio therapy and chemotherapy are the forms of treatment available at the hospital.
Dr Niblett was at the Lae Golf Club on Independence Day to witness a major charity golf event organised by the Lae Rotary Club to raise funds to buy an ultra sound scanner for radio therapy and oncology department at the Angau Memorial Hospital.
A total of K30,000 was raised by 36 teams from mostly the private sector companies in Lae for the cancer unit.
The K1.2 million machine would enable doctors to locate abdominal organs and assessing pelvic spread for cervical cancer.
Dr Niblett said there was a real need for two of such machines but the lack of staff in the cancer unit meant the existing staff could only handle one machine.
He said the unit also needed to be expanded to cater for the increasing cancer patients in the country.
There are only three Papua New Guinean staff working with Dr Niblett who have to handle all patients who are admitted into the unit.
Meanwhile, Dr Niblett said negotiations were progressing with the physics department of the University of Technology to introduce a degree course in radio radiation therapy which should hopefully see graduates coming out of that course who could be employed at the cancer unit.
He also said negotiations were being held with the Prince of Wales Hospital in Sydney to send cancer specialists to Angau for short periods to relieve the shortage of manpower at the unit.