The Association of The University of the South Pacific (AUSPS) Women’s Wing and USP Staff Union (USPSU) helped raised $3000 by hosting a Pinktober Morning on 23 October to create awareness about breast cancer. The proceeds will go to the Fiji Cancer Society.
More than 200 people attended the event, including the Vice Chancellor and President, Professor Pal Ahluwalia.
AUSPS Women’s Wing President, Rosalia Fatiaki said the event was not only geared towards raising the much needed funds for Fiji Cancer Society but more importantly to raise awareness of breast cancer through cancer survivor testimonies for the USP community. She said this was also an opportunity to reiterate support and encouragement for staff who are undergoing treatment at this time.
Alanieta Lesuma-Fatiaki, an Executive of the AUSPS Women’s Wing said that the 2020 Pinktober Tea was a USP family initiative led by AUSPS Women’s Wing coordinating and seeking donations from different sections within the University.
Also speaking at the event was the Surgical Registrar at CWM Hospital, Dr Losalini Tabakei. Dr Tabakei said early detection was important and urged women and men to be aware of their body, examine themselves regularly, undergo examination and ask questions. She said early screening can help deal with cancer as triple assessments are done which includes clinical, radiological and pathological. She said a screening programme is available in Fiji to help detect breast cancer.
Dr Tabakei discouraged the use of traditional medicine to cure Breast Cancer. “It’s important for people to understand that early referral is necessary. She said some patients first turned to traditional medicine and only sought medical help when they were in their last stage.
Executive Director for People and Workforce Strategy, Jone Maritino Nemani, urged men to also take it upon themselves and get checked as “cancer knows no gender”.He said the University will make sure that colleagues going through such a traumatic experience have full support.
“Detecting early can help fight cancer”, he said. “As they say, prevention is better than cure. We owe a duty of care to our sisters, our mothers, our wives and everybody else. Be brave enough to have this kind of regular checkups,” he said.
USP staff members who are Breast Cancer survivors also shared their experiences of living with and undergoing treatment for cancer.