Eleven women referred to New Zealand for breast cancer treatment
Thursday 3 November 2022 | Written by Melina Etches | Published in
Acknowledging ‘Pink October’ with breakfast. Back left: Esther Strickland, Naomi Manavaroa, Mareta Tarau (Manihiki Island council), Myra Tatakura, Margaret Numanga, Liz Nootai. Front Left: Dean Kapi Tangata, CIFWA Patron Nikki Rattle, Rosie Blake and Merle Pukerua. 22102701
Eight hundred and nine (809) women attended the four-week mammogram breast screening programme which was held throughout August until September 13 at the Rarotonga hospital.
Te Marae Ora nurse Tohoa Cummings, who has been with
the breast screening programme since 2011, said: “Mammograms are successful in
the early detection for breast cancer.”
Of the 809 women, 5 per cent required further
mammographic views plus additional ultrasound, said Cummings. Fourteen women had
ultrasound guided biopsy procedures.
Eleven women have been “immediately” referred to New
Zealand for further treatment – most of these women had already been referred
by Te Marae Ora – Cummings said.
Sixteen women are waiting for their biopsy results.
Forty-six women from the Pa Enua islands of Aitutaki,
Mangaia, Mitiaro, Mauke, Atiu and Penrhyn attended the mammogram screenings and
one of these women required further procedures.
October is known worldwide as the month in which
actions and awareness related to the prevention and early diagnosis of breast
cancer takes place.
To wrap up “Pink October”, the Cook Islands Family
Welfare (CIFWA) in partnership with the Au Vaine Cancer Project (for survivors)
hosted a breakfast fundraiser event last month.
The executive director of CIFWA, Rongo File said the
breakfast was held to celebrate and acknowledge breast cancer month.
Three amazing breast cancers survivors, Nga
Teao-Papatua, Myra Tatakura and Merle Pukerua courageously shared their stories
which was “quite emotional”, said File.
The guest panel was moderated by CIFWA patron Nikki Rattle. Former Cook Islands consul general Rosie Blake also spoke about the medical referrals for women to New Zealand for appointments and treatment.
The four-week Breast Screening Mammogram programme is
scheduled to take place to fit around Te Maeva Nui Constitution Celebrations in
July, 2023, to allow women from the northern and southern groups islands can