Editorial comment – A special month

Wilson Makrava (left) with Doctor Ravneil Singh at the Pinktober-Movember event at Star Printery in Suva. Picture: ELIKI NUKUTABU/FILE

Every time we discuss this month, we realise how important it is for Fijians. We say this if we are going to discuss development, reflect on what we have come through, and ponder on our future. But that’s a story for another day.

This month is also set aside to highlight a major health concern. Back in 2018, around this time, Fiji Cancer Society board member Makrava Wilson highlighted an important point.

Seventy-nine per cent of deaths in the country, he said at the time, were because of non-communicable diseases.

Breast cancer was the number one killer among women in the country. This form of cancer, he said, begins in the breast tissue and is the second most common type of cancer, mainly affecting women.

The prognosis for stage 4 breast cancer is not good. The five-year survival rate was only 16 per cent and given the high incidence and destructive nature of breast cancer, early prevention and treatment of the disease was a high priority.

There are many triggers of cancer like lifestyle habits, eating habits and so on.

But early detection and early treatment stands quite high in the mechanics of how we can effectively fight this illness.

Understandably, there are sceptics who will fall back on alternative treatment before they eventually end up in hospital.

This is why we firmly believe the message of Pinktober is important. It is never easy to appreciate the sacrifices many people make when someone suffers from cancer.

There are people working hard to ease the suffering of patients, and reassuring them and providing comfort for those who are in palliative care.

Cancer survivors embrace major lifestyle changes. There is great value placed on family time and being positive can make a difference, they say.

It is always sad seeing a loved one make the transition from being a lively person to being bed-ridden and very ill. In saying that, we a reminded about the objective of the World Health Organization Global Breast Cancer Initiative (GBCI), which, according to its official website, is to reduce global breast cancer mortality by 2.5% per year, thereby averting 2.5 million breast cancer deaths globally between 2020 and 2040.

Reducing global breast cancer mortality by 2.5% per year would avert 25% of breast cancer deaths by 2030 and 40% by 2040 among women under 70 years of age.

The three pillars toward achieving these objectives, it said, are: health promotion for early detection; timely diagnosis; and comprehensive breast cancer management.

We say this is a worthwhile campaign that must be highlighted, and The Fiji Times has long been a very strong supporter of Pinktober, the work of the Fiji Cancer Society, and of Walk On Walk Strong Kids Fiji (WOWS).

It is important that we are reminded about the resilience of the human spirit, and the beauty of sharing, and of bringing comfort to a fellow human being.

For all those who make an effort to be a part of this worthy cause, you can make a difference!

It takes courage to give up your time, money, and effort for something like this. This campaign needs the support of the masses. It needs our endorsement.

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