Oldies On Rugby, Cancer Mission
Minister for Health, Rosy Akbar emphasised the need for increased awareness on prostate cancer to encourage early detection and cure.
“The call to action for prostate cancer is urgent as the reasons are obvious,” she said during the Suva Golden Oldies Rugby Club (SGORC) fundraiser yesterday.
“It is the leading cancer amongst Fijian men and like breast cancer it has been increasing over the last five years, it must be taken seriously as cancer is a threat to the livelihoods of our men, women and their families.
“I am pleased to say that this year the awareness on breast cancer and now prostate cancer is more than what was done in the previous years. This is an indication that our society is becoming more cautious of the diseases that are affecting our people.”
SGORC is planning to visit rural areas from next year to help spread awareness on prostate cancer.
Club president, Mason Smith said they are doing everything they can to help spread awareness of a disease that is the most common type in men.
“Early next year we will start on our domestic tour where we will go on a bus and reach out to the rural areas and play a few games there,” Smith said.
“We will be having talks with the elders in the villages and encourage them to get tested not only for prostate cancer but for other diseases that might affect older men.”
The initiative of the club started when the club was formed and wanted to make a positive contribution to society.
“When the club first started we asked ourselves what’s the purpose of this club was, one was to come together as former rugby players, team mates and work mates to keep healthy in a good environment,” he said.
“We play 26 games in a year just to keep fit and to fight against Non Communicable Diseases (NCDs) and to fly Fiji’s flag internationally in the Oldies tournament. We have been travelling to Manila every year to compete in the Oldies tournament and we just want to give back to society. Being a male dominated sport, we needed to focus on something that was afflicting men.”
The Health Minister has called on individuals to be proactive in becoming the ambassadors of a healthy lifestyle within their families and communities.
Fiji Cancer Society acting president Phillip Low explained on the importance of such awareness programmes.
“Through this event we trying to send a message that we care for each other and it’s important we talk to our friends and families to get rid of the stigma and taboo on such health issues. It’s better to know then to guess and it’s better to live then die.
“Through such partnerships, we are not only raising awareness but also raising funds that will go towards assisting the less fortunate people to get the medical treatment.”