Breast cancer affecting younger women

Increasingly younger women in Samoa are being diagnosed with breast cancer, the Chief Executive Officer of the Samoa Cancer Society has warned. 

C.E.O. Su’a John Ryan has warned that breast cancer is proving an overwhelming and increasing burden on women’s health.

 “The numbers continue to rise,” he said at a press conference on Friday.

“Another trend we see is that women are getting younger…so it is very worrying.”

Women above the age of 40 were once the target group for breast cancer awareness initiatives but that strategy has since changed. 

But Su’a said the disease is now affecting women as young as 25 years of age.

“That is where we are right now with breast cancer,” he said.

The number of women with breast cancer currently registered with the cancer society is 17.

But Su’a says there are many more women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer but have not yet come forward to register with the society.

“The current number we have is 17 and of course we have women who have died from breast cancer,” he said.

“The number we have is the number of women who have registered with us but there are women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer but they have not registered. But I know the number of women with breast cancer is much higher.”

Su’a was talking to the media on Thursday at the Mother-Daughter Sister Luncheon Forum held at the Taumeasina Island Resort.

The event, hosted by Samoa Stationery and Books (S.S.A.B.) C.E.O. Tofialu Fiti Leung Wai, brought together women in leadership positions to generate discussions around breast cancer.

“As we know this month is Pinktober, it is when we spread awareness on breast cancer,” Su’a said.

“These events, like the pink luncheon, are important. This was to bring together the women who are in leadership positions to talk about protecting our women from breast cancer.”

Samoa Family Health Association Director Lealaiauloto Iosefa Siitia said to tackle cancer, the second-highest killer of women in Samoa, next to cardiovascular diseases, there must be a change in mindsets.

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