PNG Cancer Foundation

Cancer treatment lacking in PNG: Foundation

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.

PNGCF visit Baruni Primary school

They are also in the technological age where information is made available at their fingertips but they lack understanding and comprehension of preventing themselves from communicable diseases. One such is cancer.

In partnership with Exxon Mobil PNG, the Papua New Guinea Cancer Foundation is doing its part in reducing the risk by young kids especially children in the LNG affected communities by conducting its school education awareness program.

Cancer awareness at rugby field

Present at the field yesterday was coordinator Dadi Toka Junior, who said cancer relentlessly affects women in the country and such occasions as this provide great opportunities for awareness to be made.

The Lahara Force team – or Elex team – were able to pose with posters and brochures to promote the fight against cancer.
The brochures also elaborated on the causes of cancer and how one can prevent this deadly disease.

Cancer, also called malignancy, is described by the Web MD as an abnormal growth of cells.

The PNG Cancer Foundation calendar

This will be done through various programs and fundraiser activities.

The Foundation is back this year with its 3 major programs; the Healthy Teens School Program, Community Outreach & Prevention Education and Provincial Cancer Outreach Program.

The Healthy Teens School Program empowers teenagers to make healthy lifestyle choices as a way to reduce their cancer risk in the future.

The aim of the program is to promote healthy habits earlier in life with emphasis on discouraging teens from smoking and drinking alcohol.

Successful cancer awareness at PNG Games

The program, in partnership with the West New Britain Provincial Health Authority, consisted of free cancer prevention workshops for the public and athletes attending the 2017 PNG Games.

Over 300 participants attended the workshops that ran throughout the day at the PNG Games Venue.

The workshops were conducted by PNG Cancer Foundation health educators Naomi Gima and Loyla Matthews.

The presentations focused on what cervical, breast and mouth cancer is and signs & symptoms to look out for.

First and foremost: Behavioural change

This is about healthy lifestyle choices and begins way before being diagnosed with cancer.

It is primary prevention.

Toka Jnr said the curative aspect of cancer (treating cancer) is expensive; not just in PNG but in the world.

“We only have one cancer unit in the country that does radiotherapy. There are other hospitals also that do chemo and surgical which we’re very fortunate. But once again, the options are very limited and this is where prevention is very important,” he said.

Successful cancer foundation lunch

The lunch, formerly brunch, is a big fundraiser for the foundation that is held annually.

Proceeds go towards funding the foundation’s work in addressing cancer, in particular women's cancer in PNG.

The event, held at the Royal Papua Yacht Club in Port Moresby yesterday, sold over 20 tables at K3,500.

“We’re very humbled by that because I understand how difficult things are especially at the financial end, not just with individuals and families but also the corporate sector,” said the CEO, Dadi Toka Jnr.

​Instill healthy lifestyle habits early

With this in mind, the PNG Cancer Foundation has been engaging with schools to roll out its Healthy Teens School Program (HTSP).

Partnering with ExxonMobil PNG, PNGCF today delivered the first of this program to Lealea Primary School, Central Province.

The program was launched to drive awareness on cancer to students in schools, targeting grades six to eight.

Thanking ExxonMobil for joining the fight against cancer, PNGCF CEO Dadi Toka Jnr said the sponsorship will go a long way in reducing the threat of cancer through this program.

Healthy teens program gets K165,000

This brings ExxonMobil PNG’s support to K269,700 for PNGCF awareness programs since 2014.

The program will be rolled out to schools in Papa Lealea, Hanuabada, Baruni, Boera, Tatana, Porebada, Port Moresby, Hides and Moro.

It will be targeted at primary school students in grades Six to Eight and aims to encourage teenagers to make healthy lifestyle choices as a way to reduce their risk of developing cancer.

PNG Cancer Foundation’s CEO, Dadi Toka Jr, says ExxonMobil PNG is a great supporter of the work of the foundation.

Elevala women happy with cancer awareness

In an interview with Elevala Women’s Fellowship Social Committee leader, Igo Morea, she said it was a good opportunity and an eye opener to learn the basics each of the different types of cancer that commonly exist in our country.

Joy Tera, another young woman employed with Fair Fax, said the PNGCF has done a great job in educating the young women present in this session.

Both participants agreed however, that more awareness is needed in the local and volatile communities and the rural populations of the country.