Cancer management must take holistic approach

Cancer management in Papua New Guinea must be done in a holistic approach.

PNG National Doctors Association president Dr James Naipao says the setup of cancer treatment facilities must not be done at one location.

For PNG’s case, the only public health cancer treatment facility is located in Lae, Morobe Province, at the Angau General Hospital.

Naipao said this type of treatment facility must be established in the Southern, Highlands and New Guinea Islands regions as well and the Government and Department of Health must make that a priority.

“The cancer burden, whilst the morbidity of tuberculosis, malaria, and HIV/AIDS infection will rise with cancer, the mortality from cancer will be an overwhelming burden for the country than the rest of these diseases.

“The holistic approach to dealing with cancer is the only way cancer can be managed in this country adequately and that is currently not happening,” Dr Naipao said.

Naipao highlighted the needs of a cancer treatment centre for both infrastructure facilities and human resource.

Infrastructure facilities must include radiotherapy and brachytherapy, chemotherapy, surgery and theatre, radiology and pathology services, biomedical, pharmacy, physiotherapy, nutrition, dental, social work, public health, anaesthetic services and a cancer registry.

Naipao explained that a cancer treatment facility must always have a radio oncologist, clinicians, nuclear physicist, radiotherapists, radiologist, cancer nurses, physiotherapist, nutritionist, dentist, social worker and cancer physician.

He said it is important to also have blood bank services, specialist ward nurses and sound receiving referral setup, cancer wards, visitation rights to church workers and helpers and good logistics setup.

It must also have on the ground training facilities setup for registrars, nurses and support staff.

Quintina Naime