Curing cancer depends on a collaborative effort from everyone.
That’s the message Dr. Dixon Hansell of the National University of Samoa’s Faculty of Medicine is trying to pass through.
“Through awareness, we can help tackle the issue at hand and that’s the education of our people that cancer can be cured if it is detected early,” said Dr. Hansell.
“And that’s a result of everyone helping raise the awareness of how it can be done,” he said.
Dr. Hansell is holding special seminars with members of the National University of Samoa to educate, raise awareness, and quash some particular myths surrounding cancer in Samoa.
“The standout thing with the talks we have been having is that most of the participants are women. There is a belief that only women are prone to be diagnosed with breast cancer when in fact, men are also likely to get it too,” he said.
“We need to quash these myths through education. Education is the best way to fight cancer,” he added.
Other particular issues surrounding cancer are rather social and cultural.
In some cases, men refused to let their wives undergo surgical removal of lumps for various reasons ranging from religious views to personal opinions. Other cases involve patients seeking help elsewhere instead of a local medical center.
“Some families have sought the help of local traditional nurses and they seem to only come to the hospital as a last resort, and usually by then its too late,” added Hansell.
“The underlining focus here is that ‘Cancer can be Cured’ and so far not many understand that. The thing is, the earlier the detection of cancer, the better the chance of getting cured without having to undergo chemo therapy and other much more desperate measures,” he said.
The National University of Samoa (N.U.S) is taking part in the commemoration of Pinktober through these seminars with Dr. Hansell.
Deputy Vice Chancellor Cheri Moana Robinson Moors emphasised N.U.S’s support for those battling cancer by taking part in the seminars and awareness initiatives.
Meanwhile, the University looks to contribute on an even larger scale to the fight against cancer.
“NUS is playing their part in education and awareness, but there is another way NUS can contribute to the fight,” said Moors.
“The role for NUS as well other universities in the region is also research. So while were jumping in on the conversation, we also have this really powerful role as a research institution and while we are educating people with the knowledge we already have, we can also ask the question as to what other information we need,” she said.
The N.U.S Deputy Vice Chancellor says further investigation as to how else we can tackle cancer, improve community engagement and education is needed.
“We don’t just have a high caliber of expertise, we also have a range of expertise, and that cuts across so many disciplines,” she added.
Meanwhile, Pinktober continues with various educational and awareness efforts pushed towards early detection and treatment.
“Its important that both men and women are aware that they can detect it early, and can be cured. But it all starts from early detection,” said Dr. Hansell.