Cancer diagnoses continue to increase with young women showing more abnormalities

Mele Mone with the new ultra-sound machine donated by the Government of Japan

The alarming number of cancer diagnoses on the island continues to increase, for a resident population and fewer than a thousand eight hundred.

According to the Health Department from 2019 to 2021, the number of people diagnosed with some form of cancer is fifty-eight, an increase of 15 from the number revealed last year at forty-three.

Head of Public Health Grizelda Mokoia said “It is a concern for the department especially now as more younger people are affected”.

The most prevalent cancer is prostate and since last year there is now an increase in the number of breast cancer and cancer of the stomach.

Mokoia is urging the people on the island to visit the hospital and get screened during these cancer awareness months of October and November.

Sixty-six women ranging from the ages of 28 to 79 years completed a breast screening program in the department’s Pinktober cancer awareness campaign.

Since 2019 when the sonographer Mele Mone first started working at the Niuefoou hospital and the breast screening programme started, she has screened 329 women on the island. 

Mele Mone said that from the screening, abnormalities were detected in more than half of the women “with 34 abnormalities” with one woman already in New Zealand referred as a result of the screening programme.

Twelve of the women will be monitored over the next months and will be required to be screened again in 12 months time.

Mele Mone said that the Niue hospital doesn’t have the full screening available like mammograms and they are encouraging the women that if they are traveling to New Zealand to book for a mammogram.

Mone said that she is concerned with the high number of abnormalities with women in Niue, compared to countries in the Pacific like Tonga and Samoa with much larger populations.

The concerns over the increasing number of cancer diagnoses are also concerning for Premier Dalton Tagelagi, who said that he will be working with the Minister of Health Sauni Tongatule on ways to address the alarming statistics.

Last year BCN News raised the alarmingly high number of cancer diagnoses on the island and since then, fifteen more people have been diagnosed.

Grizelda Mokoia, Head of Public Health (Niue Health Department)

Sir Colin Tukuitonga who is the Associate Dean of Auckland University’s School of Medicine told BCN News that he is ready to step in and offer to help the Niue Health department in terms of research or whatever decision is made by the government.  

Even though the screening programme for women is over in October, Mele Mone said that women and men can still contact her and go into the Niue Foou hosptial to be screened. 

Today Mele started using a new ultra-sound machine donated by the Government of Japan.

The month of November also called Movember is the Health Department’s men’s health awareness month, a screening program for the men will take place and the health department is calling out to all the men to get screened.

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