Alarming cancer statistics mobilise support for more screening and early detection programmes

Since 2009, forty-three people have been diagnosed with some form of cancer, some of these people have since passed away from the disease.

The top five most common types of cancer affecting the local population are prostate cancer with ten men diagnosed since 2009. This is followed by skin cancer with 8 people diagnosed, breast cancer with 7 cases, 6 cases of liver cancer and 5 confirmed cases of cervical cancer.

The statistics were revealed by the Head of Public Health, Grizelda Mokoia at the candle-light vigil held last night at the Commercial centre to end the monthlong awareness activities and events. The event was organised in collaboration with the Ekalesia Niue Youth and the service led by Rev. Christopher Lagiono to remember those that have passed away and those still fighting their fight against cancer.

The health department has for a number of years now, dedicated the month of October as breast cancer awareness month, but this year, that focus has now changed to include all other forms of cancer.

BCN News spoke to Mele Mone, the Radiographer/Ultra-Sonographer who is credited for the early detection of three women with breast cancer since she arrived in Niue in 2019. Since she has been in Niue, Mrs Mone has screened 263 women for breast cancer.

Mrs Mone said that the breast screening programme last month saw 84 women turn up for the six screening clinics.

“Eighty-four ladies turned up. The eldest was 75 and the youngest was 31 years of age. We got one new suspicious case of breast cancer from the October breast screening programme”.

Mrs Mone says that the message to the people is not to be afraid and not to be scared of what the results may be, but it is very important to get screened.

“Some of the people are so scared when they come in but I would like to convince everyone, please come and get screened, get scanned. Early detection saves lives” says Mrs Mone.

On Thursday last week, the largest ever Walk for Life event organised by the Health department and Taoga Niue saw nearly four hundred people turn up in their pink. Children in prams, men and women turned up to walk in support of their loved ones who are in one way or another affected by cancer.

Mrs Lofa Rex said she was there because her daughter Pauline is recovering from breast cancer in Auckland.

Mrs Manasofai Talagi turned up to walk to support her loved ones who are fighting or recovering from this disease. In July this year, she and her brother Dimitry Viliamu shaved their hair in support of Pauline Rex Blumsky.

Joining the walk this year is Mrs Luma Alapaki who was there with a huge group of supporters from Hakupu to show their support for their daughter Figo Kulatea Ioane who sadly passed away from cancer over the weekend.

Common Roll MP Terry Coe said that he was there to encourage more people to turn up for screening, a message shared by Brad Etuata and Poi Okesene who said that supporting our loved ones who are no longer with us because of cancer and those who are still fighting the disease.

The Health Department will continue with their awareness programmes with November, the month dedicated to men’s health awareness.

1 thought on “Alarming cancer statistics mobilise support for more screening and early detection programmes

  1. The latest victim to this deadly disease really highlighted the extreme importance of trying to find the cause of this sickness. I think every case is related or near related and it’s time we investigate what is causing it. Someone said it could be the water around the area. In my own suspicion mind I would tend to agree. It’s why I think it’s important to set up a taskforce headed by overseas experts to really look into our water sources. The majority of the cases seems confined in the Alofi area which reflects the number of women who have succumbed to this disease or are currently battling it.
    I’m no expert, but these cases are so closely related I think it’s time for the government to really do something before it gets worse. If it’s not the water then something is going on… worth having a look I reckon.

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