Papua New Guinea
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Early detection saves lives

Today, unlike ever before, cancer is having a far-reaching impact and hold on humankind regardless of race, colour, ethnicity, political, economic or social standing.

Wife of the Governor General Lady ‘Emeline Tufi Dadae shared a personal experience in this regard on the importance of early testing for breast cancer during the Globe-athon last Sunday, a walk that focuses on awareness of Women’s Cancers.

Lady Dadae was amongst more than 2000 participants from diverse walks of life that included corporate employees, students, healthcare workers and the general public.

“I have a family history to breast cancer, and part of precaution I always check my breast every year.

“I recently underwent a biopsy a month ago on my right breast after I felt a sharp pain.

“Without hesitation, I contacted Dr Sapuri and a biopsy was done to determine the nature of the lump. Thankfully, the biopsy has tested negative for cancer.

“Also, as part of my awareness initiatives, I do community awareness especially village women and young female,” she said.

According to Lady Emeline, that experience however, was a wake-up call for her.

“It is now a well-known fact that women’s cancers such as breast cancer, cervical and ovarian cancer is being detected in women in much younger age group, and not after 40

years as previously noted.

“Hence, we are at risk. Let us not wait until it is too late.

“Let us start investing in our personal health as the first step in the fight against women’s cancers. Let us be self-aware and proactive.

“Take heed of health warnings and guidance from health professionals on what we must do to protect ourselves.

“Make it your business to learn as much as you can about the risks of cancer, its effects and symptoms and act on these advice and warnings,” she said.

Go for regular tests and scans as recommended by medical specialists.

This includes pap smears, HPV screens, breast scan and mammogram, uterus and ovaries scans.

She said the experience of undergoing such tests can be somewhat daunting and uncomfortable for women, but it is worth the effort and it saves lives.

“So let’s act now to safeguard our personal health and that of future generations of our nation.

In addition, as Patron of Vabukori Women Development Association in partnership we start engaging our village women to do Pap smear here at PIH.

According to Dr Mathias Sapuri, the four most common cancers among women are breast cancer, cervical, endometrial and ovarian cancer.

The key message of the Globe-athon is prevention of these cancers.

This is achieved through early detection and regular testing and screening.

“Fellow women and girls, I urge you all to take this seriously.

“There is good reason why these cancers are referred to as silent killers.

“It is because by the time women start to feel sick and show symptoms, the cancer has reached the fatal stage that is often beyond medical intervention.

“So even when you don’t experience any symptoms at all, or you consider yourself healthy, make an appointment soon with a specialist gynecologist for an ultrasound for endometrial cancer and pap smear and follow up every two years.

“I want to also encourage girls in the age range of 9 to 26 years to get the Gardasil vaccine to prevent and protect against cervical cancer,” she said.

Equally important is to undergo breast scan or mammogram every two years.