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Gastrointestinal cancer on the rise

January 19, 2021 6:00 am

The Health Ministry is seeing an increase in gastrointestinal cancer amongst Fijians.

Minister Dr Ifereimi Waqainabete says gastrointestinal cancer is closely surpassing breast and cervical cancer which are the most common.

Dr Waqainabete says more than a hundred cases of gastrointestinal cancer is recorded annually.

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Gastrointestinal cancer includes all cancers in a person’s digestive tract organs and if detected or treated late, it can be fatal.

“When we say gastrointestinal – this includes esophageal cancer, stomach cancers and cancers of the large bowel or colon cancers. Now colon cancer is very common in the Western world. It’s attributed to the dietary changes. So we are seeing a rise in that here in Fiji.”

The Minister says this adds to the four hundred cancer cases they record within a year.

“We have about 100 to 150 people that have gastrointestinal cancer so these are cancers of the esophagus, stomach, liver, pancreas, small bowel, large bowel and even the appendix. Lower is prostate cancer and lung cancers.”

A diet high in salty and smoked foods including alcohol increases the risk of gastrointestinal cancer.

The Fiji Cancer Society says people suffering from such cancer may be reluctant to come forward.

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