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FWRM launches new research on cancer services for women


The Fiji Women’s Rights Movement (FWRM) in collaboration with the Fiji Cancer Society, launched FWRM’s latest research, “Breaking the Barriers: Understanding Cancer Services, Screening & Treatment Available for Women in Fiji” in Suva today.

In partnership with the Asian- Pacific Resource and Research Centre for Women (ARROW) the research focuses on the state of cancer services, screening and treatment in Fiji and the lived experiences of women accessing the public healthcare system during their journey with cancer. The launch event coincided with the celebration of ‘Pinktober’ in Fiji and the upcoming review of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) in 2019.

“As it stands, breast and cervical cancer remain among the top five deaths for women in the country overall. Given these statistics, FWRM decided to carry out a research on the barriers women face in accessing cancer services and treatment and ways we can address this,” said FWRM Executive Director Nalini Singh. “FWRM believes strongly in evidence-based advocacy and a rights-based approach in research to be inclusive of the voices and perspectives of women. ”

The findings of the research reveal that the breast and the cervix are the two common registered cancers in the Fiji cancer registry; making up 30 per cent of cancers listed. The cancer registry records breast and cervix are the organs most affected, and that women have the organs most affected; most women diagnosed with reproductive cancers are generally between the 30-50 age category.

According to the research, it’s estimated that 50 percent of women will not seek further medical assistance, treatment or follow-ups after testing positive.

“Many women are still presenting themselves very late with stage three cervical and breast cancer despite the awareness and services available,” said Ms. Singh.

“According to the research, it is estimated that 50 percent of women will not seek further medical assistance, treatment or follow-ups after testing positive.”

Furthermore, many women still resort to traditional herbal medicine when diagnosed with cancer and will only return to the hospital when the families themselves cannot handle the physical deteriorating state of patient; or if the pain threshold has intensified to an extent that morphine is needed for relief.

“Ensuring that cancer services, screening and treatment are available to all women across all locations is the first big step to fighting the prevalence of cancer in this country,” said Ms Singh.

FWRM thanks the support of the Fiji Cancer Society in the launching of this research.

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