Dr George Malefoasi, Chief Executive Officer, National Referral Hospital (NRH), said that the hospital’s Oncology Department has recorded an increase in oral cancer cases.
“Oral cancer is now amongst the top 5 cancers recorded yearly and on average, 15 -19 cases recorded each year. The incident increased from 19 new cases recorded by the cancer unit in 2010 to 24 new cases in 2022”, said Dr Malefoasi.
Dr George Malefoasi providing response to media enquiry on status of oral cancer in country.
He made the statement in response to media enquiries on the status of Oral Cancer in Solomon Islands, during the Prime Minister’s Weekly Press Conference, last week Friday.
Dr Malefoasi said that treatment is available at the NRH cancer day care centre, however similar to all other cancers, the early it is detected the better chances of achieving successful treatment.
Each day the unit treats at least 5 to 15 cases depending on their treatment regime. For longer cycle treatment it may take 8 hours all throughout the day till evenings
Tuesday and Thursdays are scheduled for doctors’ consultations of referrals as well as for new cases diagnosis and treatment management. There are two doctor registrars working in the department.
“There is oral therapy available at the NRH and treatment is mainly surgery and/or chemotherapy. We have oral medications and IV medicines that can also treat a number of cancers including oral cancers which includes Methotrexate and Cyclophosphamide which are taken orally and via injections respectively”, said Dr Malefoasi.
He cautioned public to consult doctors or dentists if there is a painless sore in the mouth, and sore that does not heal for more than a week or month for medical assessment as it could be cancer.
The Ministry of Health is encouraging everyone to maintain good oral health through constant tooth brushing (morning and evening), avoid chewing of betel nuts and smoking, avoid sugary or sweet food and drinks and excessive drinking of alcohol and regular dental check ups will enable early detection of any potential cancer in the mouth.
Mouth cancer, also known as oral cancer or cancer of the oral cavity, is often used to describe a number of cancers that start in the region of the mouth. These most commonly occur on the lips, tongue and floor of the mouth but can also start in the cheeks, gums, roof of the mouth, tonsils and salivary glands.
Mouth cancers are generally classified as head and neck cancers. While the term mouth cancer is seldom used in scientific literature it is used in country as basic information to promote cancer prevention and is easy to understand.
The Ministry envisage a plan for a new inpatient ward for the cancer patients.