Three young Tongan women diagnosed with   breast cancer every month

    Tonga’s Ministry of Health in a report on the situation facing young women with breast cancer said two to three women were diagnosed with the disease every month in the last three years.

    Eleven women were killed by the cancer in 2013 while eight were killed in 2014.

    Dr ‘Ana ‘Akau’ola publicly made the revelation last week as part of an event to mark the breast cancer awareness Pink October in Fasi.

    She said the disease killed Tongan women in their 30s to 50s.

    These young women had families and were working hard to pursue their various careers, she said.

    In 2013, 33 women were diagnosed with the disease in which 11 died.

    It followed by another 33 in 2014 in which eight died while there were 32 diagnosis in 2015.

    This year there were 26 women diagnosed with breast cancer from January to October.

    “We would definitely hit 30 this year since we diagnose about two to three patients with breast cancer every month.”

    Breast cancer month

    The Breast Cancer Awareness Month, marked in countries across the world every October, helps to increase attention and support for the awareness, early detection and treatment as well as palliative care of this disease.

    According to World Health Organisation there are about 1.38 million new cases and 458 000 deaths from breast cancer each year (IARC Globocan, 2008).

    It said the disease has been rising up steadily in low- and middle-income countries  in the last years due to increase in life expectancy, increase urbanisation and adoption of western lifestyles.

    “Currently there is not sufficient knowledge on the causes of breast cancer, therefore, early detection of the disease remains the cornerstone of breast cancer control.

    “When breast cancer is detected early, and if adequate diagnosis and treatment are available, there is a good chance that breast cancer can be cured. If detected late, however, curative treatment is often no longer an option. In such cases, palliative care to relief the suffering of patients and their families is needed”.

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