Early detection is vital: Dr Whitfeld

June 13, 2024 4:06 pm

[File Photo]

People living with albinism have a lot of risk to develop skin cancer.

This was highlighted by Fiji Albinism Project Founder, Doctor Margot Whitfeld at the International Albinism Awareness Day today.

She emphasized the necessity for people living with albinism to present themselves early for detection and intervention on skin cancer.

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Dr Whitfeld says majority of people living with albinism are iTaukei, and a 50-year-old iTaukei man recently succumbed to the complications of skin cancer.

“I need to emphasize for you is that early recognition of unusual things on the skin are easily able to be treated, sometimes by surgery, sometimes by cold treatments, and sometimes even by new anti-cancer skin creams.”

Dr Whitfeld says Fiji has taken a significant stride to provide training for an additional five dermatologists, to ensure the management of skin cancer among people living with albinism in Fiji.

At present, Twomey Hospital’s Doctor Meciusela Tuicakau is the only dermatologist in the country.

Health Ministry’s Acting Chief Medical Adviser, Doctor Luisa Cikamatana reassured the government’s support through the supply of sunscreen for people living with albinism.

The Ministry of Health and Medical Services were joined by friends and families of people living with albinism to observe this year’s International Albinism Awareness Day, with the theme “Celebrating a Decade of Collective Progress”.