Women cancers high in Papua New Guinea

Port Moresby (Post Courier): OVER 3500 Papua New Guinean women will be diagnosed with gynaecological and breast cancer this year and about 85 per cent of them will die.
The grim statistics were revealed by Dr Mathias Sapuri, the head of obstetrics and gynaecology at the Pacific International Hospital and the UN in-country physician, in the lead-up to next weekend when PNG will join over 80 other countries to raise awareness and support treatment and research on reproductive cancers. 
The globeathon is an unprecedented call-to-action, uniting communities around the world. The walk in Port Moresby joins this signature, multinational coalition to shine a bright spotlight on these diseases and support a global movement to end women’s cancer. It will be a four-hour walk from Sir John Guise Stadium to Pacific International Hospital, Taurama. The event will see surgeons, cancer survivors, general public women’s groups, students, staff and supporters walk to raise awareness.
According to Dr Sapuri, gains have been made in treating breast cancer and other diseases but women around the world continue to die from cervical, ovarian and other reproductive cancers.
“We want women to be aware of prevention, screening, vaccination, to learn the symptoms for early detection and successful treatment, and raise research funding to develop better tools to defeat these cancers,” he said.
Gynecological cancers (cervical, ovarian, uterine, vaginal and vulvar) account for almost 20 percent of the 5.1 million estimated new cancer cases and 2.9 million cancer deaths worldwide. 
More than 230,000 women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer each year, many in the late stages of their disease, and more than half will die. Cervical cancer is alarmingly on the rise in South and East Asia, Africa, South America and the Pacific, with incidence and death rates at their highest levels in 30 years, making the disease a major global priority. Unfortunately the vulnerability of Papua New Guinean women to these deadly forms of cancer as well as other diseases is likely to increase with revelations recently of a drop in the number of rural health clinics. 
Preliminary results from a 2012 Promoting Effective Public Expenditure Survey of 147 health clinics in eight provinces by the National Research Institute (NRI) and the Australian National University (ANU) point to major problems in the drugs supply network and the lack of funding to keep health facilities running. 
The NRI and the ANU highlighted in a statement that despite a population growth of 25-30 percent, the number of patients attending a clinic on a typical day fell, and there was a decline in the availability of some key drugs and medical supplies. While many staff working in the rural health sector are dedicated (three-quarters contribute from their own salary to running costs), there has been a slight fall in the number of staff working at clinics according to the survey.

The Post Courier
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