Screening for prostate cancer will be that much easier after the official handover of the $150,000 Transperineal Ultrasound Machine donated by Extra Supermarket to the Ministry of Health.
Minister for Health Dr. Atonio Lalabalavu says the Transperineal Ultrasound Machine being handed over today, is a medical imaging technique that helps in the screening and diagnosis of prostate cancer.
He adds prostate cancer is the most frequently diagnosed cancer among men in Fiji.
Dr. Lalabalavu further says by inserting an ultrasound probe through the rectum and a needle through the perineum, they can obtain images of the prostate gland, helping to detect abnormalities and signs of cancer.
He adds the use of these equipment is particularly significant for several reasons.
The Minister says these techniques are less invasive compared to traditional biopsy methods, and enables more accurate and precise targeting of suspicious areas within the prostate gland, reducing the need for multiple biopsies.
He further says real-time imaging during the biopsy procedure allows for immediate feedback and adjustments, ensuring that the biopsy samples accurately represent the entire gland and enhancing the accuracy of the diagnosis.
The Minister says having access to high-quality equipment like the Transperineal Ultrasound Machine improves the safety and accuracy of prostate cancer screening and diagnosis.
He says it empowers healthcare providers to deliver personalized and targeted treatments based on each patient's specific characteristics, ultimately improving patient outcomes and alleviating the burden of prostate cancer on individuals and society.
Dr. Lalabalavu says it is alarming to note that data from the Fiji National Urology Centre shows that 416 men have been diagnosed with prostate cancer in the past seven years, averaging 60 Fijian men annually.
He adds these numbers are a significant burden for a small country like ours and one of the biggest challenges with prostate cancer is the lack of early symptoms, often leading to late-stage diagnosis.
The Minister says this is why regular prostate cancer screenings for men over the age of 50 are vital as early detection significantly improves treatment options and outcomes.
He further says unfortunately, many men in Fiji are not getting screened for prostate cancer due to a lack of awareness, education, cultural influences, and social barriers preventing them from seeking medical assistance.
It is crucial that we change this narrative.
We must educate men about the risks associated with prostate cancer and motivate them to undergo regular screenings.
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