Fiji National University’s (FNU), National Training & Productivity Centre (NTPC) hosted Pinktober Morning Tea at its Narere Training Centre to advocate and raise awareness on breast cancer.

The event featured cancer fighters and survivors Mrs Salote Qalo and Mrs Kelera Naborisi, who shared their courageous journeys with NTPC staff and students.

Mrs Naborisi, who was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2018, said it was important for patients to accept the truth if detected positive, and seek medical help.

“There is no point in living in a state of denial and letting the deadly disease grow in you,” Mrs Naborisi said.

“Acceptance will help you grow mentally strong and prepare you to fight the disease and survive.

To be brave to fight cancer, you need to stay positive, and have faith in the Lord.”

Mrs Qalo, 72, was diagnosed in 2014. She commented that Pinktober has created positive environment of support and empowerment amongst communities over the years.

She pointed out though that more awareness needs to be created in interior rural villages

.“However, women in rural communities need more education on breast cancer, what they can do and the treatment they can get because still many of them are unaware, and instead are choosing to suffer in silence,” Mrs Qalo said.

Colonial War Memorial Hospital General Surgeon Dr Ilaitia Delasau, spoke on getting the right medical treatment, hence reminding staff and students that there is no evidence of traditional/herbal medicine as a cure for cancer. 

“People need to understand that cancer needs to be detected at an early stage, and treated medically,” Dr Delasau said. “It is a misconception that herbal medicine cures cancer, there is no proof.” 

He also informed that not many are aware that men can also contract breast cancer, but is more prevalent in women. Director NTPC Dr Isimeli Tagicakiverata said the morning tea was an excellent opportunity to become aware of the issues relating cancer.

“We recently lost a senior staff at NTPC to breast cancer, and this initiative helps us understand and become aware how it feels to be affected by cancer,” Dr Tagicakiverata said.

“We can do our part by creating awareness, providing support, admiring the survivor’s ordeals, and honouring those who were taken, to create the required healthy environment to fight cancer.”

The Fiji Cancer Society representative Ms Luisa Hoyts received the funds raised by NTPC staff. The Society plays a pivotal role in advocating, counselling, assisting patients during diagnosis and treatments, and providing hope and support.

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