Samoa marks World Cancer Day

By Nefertiti Matatia ,

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WORLD CANCER DAY: Participants from all over Samoa showing their support to fight against cancer.

WORLD CANCER DAY: Participants from all over Samoa showing their support to fight against cancer. (Photo: Nefertiti Matatia)

Samoa commemorated World Cancer Day yesterday with a Fun Run event.

Guided by the theme “We can I can,” the wet weather in the morning did not dampen the spirits of many people who turned up to take part.

Every year on 4 February, the world commemorates Cancer Day highlighting its impact on the lives of the individuals and their families.

The occasion yesterday was an important reminder for Samoa, according to the Associate Minister of Health, Salausa Dr. John Ah Ching.

He said the main focus is to raise awareness in the community and provide support for survivors, parents, children and friends whose lives have been lost due to cancer.

“Commemorating World Cancer Day is ensuring that fewer people develop cancer, more people are successfully treated and that there is better quality of life for people during treatment and beyond,” he said.

The Fun run organised by the Ministry of Health and the Samoa Cancer Society was opened all members of the public.

More than a hundred participants raised their hands to join the fun run yesterday which took place at Apia, to show their support for World Cancer day. 

They ran all the way from the Samoa Tourism Authority to Vaiala all the way to Faatoia to the town clock and back to where they started.

Among the participants was 91-year-old Sapa’u Lolesio Vitale from Saleimoa.

He woke up super early just to be part of the experience.

He told the Sunday Samoan that joining the fun run was his way of not only showing support but also at the same time a good exercise for him to stay fit and healthy.

But the celebration is continuing today.

According to Salausa, “Some of the churches who have been invited will conduct their services based on the theme of the World Cancer day.

“The Pastors will also utilize this unique teaching opportunity to reduce the occurrence of cancer by staying spiritually and socially healthy.”

Some of these churches are Tufulele Methodist Church and the Vailele Congregational Christian Church of Samoa.

The Associate Minister added that cancer is a public health problem worldwide and it could affect anybody.

“Cancer is a leading cause of death in Samoa due to limited access to primary health care. The lack of effective early screening programmes, delays in diagnosing and late presentation of cases and the lack of treatment of cancers locally.

“Thus the need to refer patients for overseas treatment, it is difficult to estimate the cost of cancer to Samoa but the health expenditure on non-communicable diseases in Samoa accounts for 40% of total health expenditure.”

The Associate Minister Salausa used the opportunity to call on everyone to do their part to reduce the local burden of cancer.

“Whatever we choose to do, we can make a difference in the fight against cancer.”

© Samoa Observer 2016

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