Cancer remains “second highest killer” in Samoa

Cancer remains the second highest killer in Samoa.

This was confirmed by the Ministry of Health, as the nation gears up to mark World Cancer Day, celebrated each year on the 4th of February.

“In Samoa, cancer is the second highest killer after the cardiovascular diseases according to our National Health Statistics in 2017,” a statement signed by Ministry of Health Director General, Leausa Dr. Take Naseri said.

“Mortality is high because of the limited primary health care and cancer treatments and the lack of effective screening programmes delay diagnosis at the stage where some cancers are easily treatable. 

Leausa said it’s difficult to estimate the cost of cancer in Samoa but health expenditure on NCD’s in Samoa accounts for over 40per cent of the total health expenditure, and this is mostly spent on clinical care. 

Around the world, cancer is currently the second leading cause of death with a recent increase to 18.1 million new cases and 9.6million deaths.

World Cancer Day is a global initiative that unites everyone in the fight against a universal epidemic which knows no boundary. 

This year 2019, marks the 4th year the Ministry of Health in collaboration with the Samoa Cancer Society and its stakeholders will commemorate the event.

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The commemoration this year revolves around the general public.

A series of continuous community outreach will take place in addition to media awareness messages on cancer preventive measures. 

A ‘Health Fun Run’ is being held today at Tuanaimato Complex.

A Sunday Service is being planned to be held at the Vaiala E.F.K.S. Church tomorrow, remembering those who have passed on from cancer and those who are still living with the disease. 

This year’s main theme is ‘I am and I will.’ It’s a call for action urging every individual to take positive actions against cancer. 

Over the years, a lot of combined efforts through health programmes and activities have been implemented to boost public awareness on the preventions of cancer.

In 2018, a consultation was held in Samoa for the first time to discuss on the palliative care approach that is needed for cancer patients.

 The outcome of this consultation was the drafting of the Cancer Palliative Guidelines which will be used by all clinicians and hospitals including private clinics. 

A Cancer Registry is currently in its final draft, which will be of great assistance to further improve the tracking system for cancer patients. 

Risk factors are packaged into the NCDs education and promotion messages that are continuously publicized for public awareness so that every individual is encouraged to take ownership of their health.

“The Ministry of Health and stakeholders therefore urge and encourage the public to come forward for cancer check up and screening at the main hospitals for early diagnosis and treatment.  Prevention is better than cure.”

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