Apia turned into Pinktober capital

The rain yesterday failed to dampen to the spirits of many who gathered at Beach Road to support the Pinktober march.

Members of Parliament, private sectors, local companies as well the Samoa College Old Pupil Association and cancer survivors marched to support the initiative.

Acting Prime Minister, Papalii Niko Lee Hang, said early detection was important because it could help stop the spread of cancer cells in the body.

“Pinktober is a good reminder that early detection is the key to prevention and successful treatments not only on breast cancer but for many different diseases,” Papalii said.

“It is important for people to realize that early detection can save the lives of a mother, a sister, wife or a daughter."

“Many decades ago I lost my younger sister to cancer, unfortunately those days our parents believed in traditional healing and they resorted to our Samoan taulaseas who gave her all different kinds of herbs."

“But I believe that there is only one hope and that is God and despite the pain and the sufferings that the victims are going through God is the answer.”

Papalii said it was also important to know the statistics and understand how breast cancer detection and treatment had evolved over the years.

“It is also an opportunity to mourn those who we have lost, celebrate those who are survivors and educate those who are unaware,” said Acting Prime Minister.

“It is important to know the statistics, understand how breast cancer detection and treatment has evolved, realize that men are also affected as well as understand the sources available to learn more about it."

“The realities are because of our limited resources it is a lot harder and more difficult for Samoans to battle cancer.”

Papalii added the Ministry of Health was working on a National Cancer Screening Programme for various types of cancers, with breast cancer now having a mammogram ultrasound and blood test.

“Early detection is absolutely possible and many more lives can be saved,” he said.

“There are awareness programs already in place that are facilitated by the Ministry of Health alongside partners like the Samoa Cancer Society.

“And nonetheless government continues to search for latest treatment available for our cancer patients, for instance the govt. is looking at a permanent cost effective arrangement for our cancer patients to receive the latest state-of- the -art treatment available in India.

“However, the fact remains that too often precious lives are interrupted or cut short by cancer.”

Breast Cancer, according to the Samoa Cancer Society, is the most common cancer among Samoan women and is responsible for the majority of deaths every year.

“It does not discriminate it can strike anyone regardless of who you are and we must raise awareness of these disease and its symptoms so that we can easily identify it and more effectively treat it,” Papalii said. 

“This month as we honored those whose lives were practically cut short by breast cancer and as we stand with their families, let us arm ourselves with the best knowledge, tools and resources available to fight this devastating disease."

“Regular screening and quality care are vital to improve outcomes for thousands of women and we are making strides in improving treatment."

“On that note I encourage all of you to join in in all activities that will increase awareness on what Samoa can do to prevent breast cancer."

It is about saving lives, he added.

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