Fugitive Djoko creating a business empire in PNG
Not forgetting that PNG had its own complex history too

Dramatic increase in cancer among PNG women

ABC | Radio Australia

Dr Mathias SapuriA LEADING PACIFIC GYNAECOLOGIST says there's been a dramatic increase in cases of cancer among women in Papua New Guinea.

At the launch a new vaccine in Port Moresby, Dr Mathias Sapuri [pictured] said a health department report had shown a "dramatic" increase in cases of cancer among women.

Dr Mathias told Radio Australia the sudden increase was due to more people reporting symptoms and a rise in sexually transmitted infections.

"In 20 to 30 years gone past, a lot of women who have cervical cancer in remote areas of PNG would not present to a health facility ... it's all to do with cultural reasons," said Dr Mathias, who is the United Nation's appointed physician in PNG.

He is calling on the government to help fund more vaccines under the public health system.

The Gardasil vaccine, which was launched last week, costs about K350 and is currently only being rolled out across the private sector.

"Unfortunately many women in PNG die because many of them have cancer in the later stages - stage two, stage three - and very few were lucky and able to seek medical attention ... unfortunately we've lost a lot of women who could've survived cancer in PNG."

He is optimistic PNG's next government will invest in major health initiatives.

"It can be done, it's just a matter of the government prioritising the cost of the different health issues that are affecting Papua New Guinea and I personally feel that it is a major issue that PNG should take on board."

Dr Mathias Sapuri is head of obstetrics and gynaecology at Pacific International Hospital and has 22 years of experience in women’s health. He is president of the PNG Medical society and chairman of the PNG Medical Board. He was awarded the Order of Logohu in recognition of his excellent services in the field of medicine and medical research


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Mrs Barbara Short

Good to hear that Dr Mathias Sapuri is still working hard for the good health of the PNG people.

From what I hear, PNG Health Centres and Hospitals throughout the whole country are in need of better general attention so that health standards can be raised for the good of all.

Let us hope that the income from the new mines, gas wells etc will eventually enable cancer sufferers, where possible, to overcome this disease.

But as Mathias says "prioritising" the different health issues has to be done first.

He might be interested to hear that I'm still live, despite the lung cancer, thanks to chemotherapy.

Adam Neira

Cancer is literally and metaphorically something that eats away at you. Prayers for all sufferers in PNG.

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