THE most common type of cancers diagnosed annually in Papua New Guinea are breast and oral cancers, a local specialist says.
Port Moresby General Hospital (PMGH) specialist physician and medical oncologist Dr Peter Olali said the hospital saw 20 cancer patients a day and out of that number, 17 would be those with oral or breast cancer.
Dr Olali said despite the high number of cancer patients at PMGH, there were currently only two cancer specialists.
He said plans were underway to train specialists to run the country’s new cancer centre currently under construction at the hospital.
“With the new centre coming up, we have now expanded in terms of manpower, not just the doctors but every other person that would run the centre,” he said.
“Those ones who have been sent overseas are the ones that will come back and run the radiation machine.” Dr Olali said cancer treatment consisted of radiation therapy (60 per cent), chemotherapy and surgery (40 per cent).
He said some Papua New Guineans had been sent overseas for radiation and oncology training and would then slot into positions at the centre, but, it would take time and once the centre was opened, they would not automatically have all the trained and qualified staff to operate it.
“We have recruited two radiation oncologists from India who are with us now,” he said.
“The university council has approved training for clinical oncology.”
Dr Olali said clinical oncology included the radiation oncology and the medical oncology.
The National / PNG Health Watch
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