Cancer treatment lacking in PNG: Foundation

The country’s only cancer awareness organisation, the PNG Cancer Foundation, admits cancer treatment is lacking in the country.

Apart from diagnostic facilities and cancer centres, the National Cancer Unit located in Angau Memorial General Hospital in Lae is not fully functional at the moment.

Cancer Foundation is now calling for immediate government intervention.

According to the PNG Cancer Foundation, 700 Paua New Guinean women die every year from breast and cervical cancer; that’s 2 deaths per day.

The 2013 to 2017 statistics from cancer admissions at Port Moresby General Hospital found cancer of the cervix makes up 60 percent of the admissions followed closely by breast cancer.

Apart from illustrating the importance of education, awareness and early detection, there is a dire need to improve treatment facilities.

“Cancer is becoming an increasingly important health issue and is something that the government needs to address,” said Dr Lynda Sirigoi, Deputy Chair of the PNG Cancer Foundation.

Dr Sirigoi said with little to no functional cancer treatment facility in the country and the expense associated with seeking treatment overseas, prevention and screening are the only protection against cancer.

“Cancer treatment itself is very expensive and we have very limited access to certain drugs and treatment in country, which is why prevention is very important that is why we keep driving prevention and screening because we know that we do not have such facilities,” added Dr Sirigoi.

Meanwhile, the PNG Cancer Foundation hosted its annual Pink Ribbon Lunch in Port Moresby where over 20 organisations attended.

The event is the Foundation’s major fundraiser and all proceeds raised go towards conducting awareness programs run by the PNG Cancer Foundation.

Carolyn Ure