Pinktober officially launched
October's significance as the month of "Pinktober", when individuals and organisations support and raise breast cancer awareness, was officially launched on Friday evening.
A small ceremony was held at the headquarters of the ANZ Bank to mark the occasion.
Guests included Prime Minister Fiame Naomi Mata’afa, Samoa Cancer Society C.E.O. Su'a John Ryan, and the ANZ Bank’s Regional Country Manager, Bernie Poort. Staff of the bank and other invited guests were also in attendance.
The Prime Minister commended all collaborative efforts and initiatives including the commercial and creation of strong partnerships and networks to generate awareness of the problems posed by the illness.
“The important information on [the] preventative steps that can save lives [from cancer and] a unique platform [...] has been established to exchange experiences,” she said.
The Cancer Society Chief highlighted that the theme for Pinktober this year was “Working together”.
“We think [the theme] is appropriate for what we really need to do to get on top of cancer in Samoa,” Su'a said.
“The launch has been made possible by ANZ Bank, [thanks] to our partnership with ANZ which they have done this for a number of years now.”
“Our activities for Pinktober are focused on breast cancer awareness. We are raising awareness for self-examination for women and making sure you are getting regular checkups, eating healthy.
“For Pinktober, we are focusing on making sure we get the message out there to the public on what this issue of breast cancer is and what we can do to combat it and hopefully get better outcomes in the future.”
Su’a said the society is conducting direct activities with partner community groups through staging presentations dedicated to raising awareness.
“Unfortunately we do not have a complete picture on the number of people with cancer in Samoa,” the C.E.O. said.
“One of the projects that the cancer society is working with in collaboration with the Ministry of Health is to set up a National Cancer Registry – which will be a register of all cancer diagnoses in Samoa –it will also capture data and information on gender, age and the specific types of cancer.
“I think once we get this up and running then we will be able to very accurately track and trace what types of cancers are, if it’s decreasing or increasing but I think we are [still] seeing [...] increasing number of cancers.
“We are starting to notice that there seems to be a larger number of younger women suspected of coming down with breast cancer.
“We have five active cases who are going through diagnosis right now, because normally the target population for breast cancer is [women aged] 40 [years old] and above.
“The biggest challenge cancer society faces is capacity, which is resources –there is so much to do but we are a very small organisation.
“We do have fantastic support from our commercial partners like ANZ, [Samoa Stationery and Books]., Vodafone Samoa, S.I.F.A. (the Samoa International Finance Authority).”