Cancer cases in Fiji

Cancer cases in Fiji

By fijivillage
Thursday 29/10/2020

From January 2019 to August 2020, there were 187 breast cancer cases recorded in Fiji.

This is according to data collated by the Surgical and Pathology Departments at CWM Hospital.

Shamima Ali shares her story about beating cancer

Centre takes care of woman whose husband had not allowed her to get treatment for breast cancer
By Rashika Kumar
Thursday 29/10/2020
FWCC Coordinator Shamima Ali.

Fiji Women’s Crisis Centre Coordinator, Shamima Ali has revealed that she was diagnosed with two types of cancer.

Speaking as a survivor, she says she was diagnosed with colon cancer in 2008 and lung cancer in 2010 and was lucky to get treatment in New Zealand because she has health insurance.

Ali says they are currently taking care of a woman whose husband had not allowed her to get treatment for breast cancer.

She says the woman had to get her breast removed but the husband had not allowed her to get the surgery.

FWRM survey says 50% of women in Fiji will not seek medical help they need

By Rashika Kumar
Thursday 29/10/2020
Executive Director of FWRM Nalini Singh. [image: FWRM]

The Fiji Women’s Rights Movement has revealed that younger women in Fiji are being found with reproductive cancer and according to their survey, 50% of women in the country will not seek medical help that they need.

It says compared to other countries, Fiji has higher rates of cancer and based on their research i-Taukei women are more likely to have cancer.

Executive Director Nalini Singh says according to their research that was presented in the “Breaking the Barriers: Understanding Cancer Services, Screening Treatment Available for Women in Fiji” report, there is unequal cancer services available in Fiji.

Singh made these comments at a Pinktober Event at the Fiji Women’s Crisis Centre.

She says Suva being the capital, has a higher level of services provided and cancer does not discriminate as women from interior parts of Fiji and maritime areas can get cancer and it is a concern that they may not be able to access services.

Singh adds the health seeking behaviour women have is also a barrier to them accessing the services.

She has also highlighted that early detection is necessary and if it is detected at a later stage then unfortunately, services for treatment is not available in Fiji and people would need to go abroad.

She says only those that have an insurance coverage and money to get the treatment are able to go overseas.

Singh has also highlighted that the stereotype women with cancer face is still rife in the community as women are shunned for no longer being pristine and pure as her body is deteriorating because of cancer.

FNU lecturer calls on Fijian women in early stages of cancer to seek medical advice early

By Iva Danford
Tuesday 27/10/2020
Cancer survivor, Kelera Naborisi. [Image:FNU]

Cancer survivor, Kelera Naborisi is calling on all Fijian women, who may be going through early stages of cancer to come forward and seek assistance and medical advice early.

Naborisi, who is a lecturer at the Fiji National University shared her journey of having to live with cancer during the FNU Pinktober–Biggest Morning Tea hosted at the Derrick Campus in Samabula.

She says at first, she was reluctant to talk about her experience because of the stigma associated with it.

Despite knowing that lumps had developed, Naborisi says she was in denial for a few months before presenting herself at the hospital.

She says in October 2017, she went to the CWM Hospital Breast Clinic with a friend but was told to get a referral and return on Tuesday as that was the breast clinic day.

Naborisi says that stopped her from pursuing it further and it was life as usual, and she thought the cancer would go away but it did not.

She says in August 2018, FNU’s College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences had organised a health screening for staff at the various campuses and it was then she learned that she was considered a high-risk case.


She says her late mother, who was 74 years old at the time, was diagnosed with breast cancer in February 2018 while recuperating in the hospital from a bone fracture surgery.

Naborisi was diagnosed with Stage 1 mucinous carcinoma cancer later that year.

She says two weeks after the medical procedure, she was humbled to learn from Doctor Josese Turagava, the oncologist surgeon at the CWMH Hospital that her lymph nodes were clear from the cancer cells and she did not require chemotherapy.

Naborisi says she felt this would be a good platform to encourage Fijian women and her work colleagues to seek medical advice and assistance early if they find lumps or suspicious growths in their breasts and to acknowledge support from she family and friends.

Oncology surgeon, Dr Josese Turagava who was present at the Pinktober morning tea, revealed that each year the CWM Hospital records 250 to 300 new cases of breast cancer.

Dr Turagava also urged women in Fiji to overcome the killer-disease by responding quickly during the early symptoms of breast cancer.

He reiterated that breast cancer is curable, only if you present yourself early to the hospital.

54 women from Nadonumai Village, Lami getting free breast exams at Sai Sanjeevani Medical Centre

Women urged to take care of themselves and get their breasts examined
By Rashika Kumar
Tuesday 27/10/2020
Dr. Krupali Tappoo, Minister for Women Mereseini Vuniwaqa and Education Minister Rosy Akbar.

54 women from Nadonumai Village in Lami are getting free breast exams at the Sai Sanjeevani Medical Centre today.

While speaking at the Pinktober Morning Tea at the Medical Centre, Director, Dr. Krupali Tappoo says every year, about 250 to 300 women are diagnosed with breast cancer in Fiji.

She says mammograms are expensive and not cost-effective so early detection focuses on reducing the cost at later stages of diagnosis which could be fatal.

Minister for Women, Mereseini Vuniwaqa says women do not prioritise their own health and as a result, families are affected because children that rely on women and their loved ones at home are also affected.

She says women need to bring themselves to health centres and get examinations done.

Meanwhile, Minister for Education, Rosy Akbar who was also present at the Morning Tea says women need the support of the men in their families, including their partners, children, nephews, sons and brothers because this is not a battle that they should allow women to fight alone.

Akbar says if there are hundreds and thousands of women in Fiji suffering, then that would mean that we are heading in the wrong direction and we must ensure that awareness about breast cancer reaches every home, every girl and every woman.

She adds that we, as a society have broken the social barriers and taboos regarding talking about breasts which is why she is urging all the women to go to the health centres, clinics and to their doctors to get their check up done.

Breast cancer survivor shares an inspiring story about her journey

By Rashika Kumar
Monday 26/10/2020
A breast cancer survivor, Vosita Katonivere Taleniwesi.

A breast cancer survivor, Vosita Katonivere Taleniwesi is urging men to support the women in their families who have been diagnosed with breast cancer as women tend to downplay their condition.

Speaking at Fiji Police Force Pinktober morning tea, 50-year-old Taleniwesi says she found out she had breast cancer after the birth of her youngest child when instead of getting breast milk she was bleeding.

She says her mother passed away on the day she found out she had breast cancer.

In 2007, her sister also passed away.

Taleniwesi says in 2017, she decided to go back to the hospital as the lump on her breast had grown from the size of a Chinese lolly seed to the size of a golf ball and she was constantly feeling tired.

She says she was told to immediately get surgery done and this is when she finally told her husband and children that she had breast cancer.

The husband left her and the children after hearing about her condition.

Taleniwesi is urging women to talk to their family if they are sick because as women, they tend to hide their sickness and continue serving their family.

The Fiji Police Force also presented a $1,000 cheque to the Fiji Cancer Society to assist them in their awareness programs.

From January 2019 to August 2020, there were 187 breast cancer cases recorded in Fiji.

Women are being urged to know their bodies and immediately get checked by doctors if they see anything unusual about their breasts such as a lump on the breast, irritation, redness or dimpling and nipples pulled in or discharge other than breast milk.

Fiji Water and Neptune Pacific Line donate $30,000 to the Fiji Cancer Society

By Dhanjay Deo
Sunday 25/10/2020
[Photo Credit: The Wonderful Company]

Fiji Water and Neptune Pacific Line have donated $30,000 to the Fiji Cancer Society and Cure Kids Fiji in the breast cancer awareness month.

The funds have come through the Fiji Water Foundation.


According to them, the funds will help vital cancer support services in the local community.

From January 2019 to August 2020, there were 187 breast cancer cases recorded in Fiji.

Fiji Airways celebrates 50th year of independence with ‘Flight against cancer’

By Semi Turaga
Saturday 10/10/2020
The Fiji Airways FJ50 flight that flew over Albert Park today. [image: Fijivillage]

Fiji Airways today celebrated the country’s 50th year of independence with a special FJ50 ‘Flight against cancer’ with 66 passengers on board its flagship A350-900XWB aircraft.

FJ50 offered a rare bird’s-eye view, doing a low flyover around Suva’s Albert Park as part of the Official Fiji Day Activities Programme, as well as some of the most picturesque spots in the country.

Fijians celebrating Fiji Day at Suva’s Albert Park got a glimpse of the A350 as it flew past during the official ceremony.

As an added surprise, FJ 50’s flight path outlined the number “50”, to mark the special occasion.

The flight was operated under written approval from the Civil Aviation Authority of Fiji (CAAF), who also had senior personnel present onboard for observation.

A limited number of seats were made available in return for specified donations.

All proceeds will be channelled to the Fiji Cancer Society (FCS) for the fight against cancer.

The flight collected in excess of $15,000 in donations for the Fiji Cancer Society.

Flight FJ50 guests were treated to a special experience, enjoying breakfast at the Fiji Airways Premier Lounge before boarding the flight.

Managing Director and CEO, Andre Viljoen says their Airbus A350, which is our newest aircraft has been in our COVID-19 short-term ‘ready for flight’ storage programme.

He says the programme requires periodic planned flights to ensure the aircraft is ready to return to commercial service rapidly when required.

Fiji Airways says The aircraft was slated to undertake its periodic storage programme flight in early October, and because today is an important milestone in the country’s history, we are taking an operational necessity, and turning it into something special.

Onboard, guests received a commemorative boarding pass souvenir with unique details of the flight before returning to Nadi at the conclusion of the flight.

Doctor Fong stresses early diagnosis and treatment to cure breast cancer

By Semi Turaga
Friday 02/10/2020
Acting Permanent Secretary for Health Doctor James Fong.

The Acting Permanent Secretary for Health Doctor James Fong says every time we discuss breast cancer, everybody asks where is the equipment but the key to curing breast cancer is early diagnosis and treatment.

Speaking at a Pinktober Awareness event at the CWM Auditorium today, Fong says the key is not the high-end stuff.

Doctor Fong says they can bring the high-end stuff, set up a radiotherapy centre any day but the problem is we do not have the people who will access the service and live longer.

He says people are not coming in early.

Doctor Fong stresses that the most important component of our management against cancer is our engagement in the public health sphere.

He told CWM staff today that it is about their ability to identify those at risk, actively screen those at risk and their ability to pick out those who are positive in the community and follow them through to every single point until they get cured.

Doctor Fong says it is only then can they bring in the high-end stuff.

He says the problem as he sees it at the moment is many of them have not been able to engage in public awareness and public health in a more innovative way.

Doctor Fong says right now they go into forums, talk about engaging, throw a few articles out in the news and finish and then the same the next year.

He says the infrastructure is no longer the centre of health care provision, it is the human beings who go out and provide the service.

He says another topic that no one likes to talk about is end of life care.

Doctor Fong says everybody dies but no one prepares for it.

He says death is inevitable and yet they have no formal program to prepare anybody for death.

Doctor Fong says unfortunately with cancer, many people not only die from cancer but also lose their dignity along the way.

He says they have to start thinking of how they can sort out a way where if they can't cure, they will give dignity and quality of care.

From January 2019 to August 2020, there were 187 breast cancer cases recorded in Fiji.

187 breast cancer cases from Jan 2019 to August 2020

Doctors stress breast cancer is curable in the early stages
By Semi Turaga
Friday 02/10/2020
Head of the Surgery Department at the CWM Hospital Doctor Josese Turagava.

From January 2019 to August 2020, there were 187 breast cancer cases recorded in Fiji.

This is according to data collated by the Surgical and Pathology Departments at CWM Hospital.

63% of these cases did not have treatment.

These were cases that were lost to follow up and where patients refused treatment.

It also found that 72% of breast cancer patients during this period were 40 to 70 years old.

The youngest patient was 20 years old.

98% of breast cancer patients are female.

Based on the data collated, 78% of the breast cancer patients between January last year to August this year were iTaukei and 19% were Fijians of Indian descent.

The Head of the Surgery Department at the CWM Hospital Doctor Josese Turagava says Fiji has 250 to 300 new cases of breast cancer per year.

He says the youngest breast cancer patient was 17 years old and she passed away 2 years ago.

Doctor Turagava says patients still present themselves to the hospital very late and their key message to people is breast cancer is curable in the early stages.

Cancer survivor Aqela Tuiwainunu says she decided to take herbal medicine when she was first diagnosed.

She says the herbal medicine did not work.

Tuiwanunu finally had medical treatment in February and was cleared by doctors after chemotherapy and other treatment.

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