8 Sep 2008

Fiji Government called on to improve cancer services

3:53 pm on 8 September 2008

Fiji's Medical Association says the country needs to do more to better detect and cater for cancer sufferers.

There's an oncology unit in Suva, but it's run by nurses, lacks equipment and specialist doctors, and offers only limited chemotherapy services.

An association executive member, Dr James Fong, says it offers cervical cancer tests to detect cancers, but reaches only ten percent of women.

Dr Fong says breast screening is not readily available and the interim government would need to allocate an extra 13.5 million US dollars to provide that service.

"We were looking at the problem of how much it'll cost to do breast cancer screening properly in Fiji. The figure we quote is 22 million [Fiji dollars]. Of course, that's a monumental amount given the amount that's usually required to run the whole budget. There's a huge shortfall in capacity to deal with oncology onshore."

James Fong says the country needs more oncologists, as well as drugs and equipment.