12 Aug 2019

Regional specialised tertiary cancer centre in Pacific planned

4:53 pm on 12 August 2019

A cancer specialist spearheading efforts to improve cancer treatment in the Pacific says they got a positive reception from Pacific Health Ministers in Tahiti last week.

Otago University Medical School professor, Diana Sarfati, led a team which presented a report to the ministers showing that every year thousands die in the Pacific from treatable cancers.

The report laid out steps to improve services and Professor Sarfati says the ministers were supportive and agreed to a number of interventions.

She envisaged more focus on both prevention and treatment.

Dr Sarfati said the most likely model is a regional cancer treatment centre.

Diana Sarfati

Diana Sarfati Photo: supplied

She said, "Within one of the Pacific Islands countries where people from around the region can go for treatment.'

'It is not feasible to have a highly specialised tertiary cancer centre in every small Pacific country because there is just not the population nor the resources to support that but the idea is to some sort of central hub where people don't have to leave the region in order to get treated for cancer," She said.

Dr Diana Sarfati said the centre could possibly be in Fiji or French Polynesia.

Hear more from Dr Sarfati on Dateline Pacific: