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Perhaps T’s Time To Relook At Legalising Marijuana For Medicinal Purposes

Cancer is the third leading cause of death behind cardiovascular diseases and diabetes. While the numbers increase rapidly, cancer patients on the other hand are not able to obtain treat­ment
06 Oct 2018 10:26
Perhaps T’s Time To Relook At Legalising Marijuana For Medicinal Purposes

Cancer is the third leading cause of death behind cardiovascular diseases and diabetes.

While the numbers increase rapidly, cancer patients on the other hand are not able to obtain treat­ment here. Instead they have to go abroad because ra­diotherapy services are not available.

To overcome the limited accessibility of cancer treat­ment, Government developed the National Cancer Con­trol Plan and established a National Oncology Commit­tee in 2014 to promote the establishment of a radiation oncology centre.

Despite Government’s willingness, the implementa­tion has been delayed for a number of reasons, one be­ing the rebuilding after severe TC Winston.

It has been a painful journey for most cancer patients, especially those who cannot afford overseas treatment.

A paper published in August in the International Journal of Health Economics and Policy, titled Ration­ales for Establishing a Radiation Oncology Center in Fiji: Beyond Cost and Benefit Analysis.

The study looks at the potential to have Fiji become a cancer treatment hub for the region.

The cancer treatment situation in Fiji is not good due to the absence of radiotherapy services.

As we enter the month of October, one can’t help but notice the various shades of pink at offices, hotels, shops and adorned by many – the colour of Breast Can­cer Awareness Month.

This awareness campaign means different things to different people. For some it’s about celebrating strength and survival. For others, a painful time of re­calling memories of a lost loved one who died of the disease.

For the Fiji Cancer Society of Fiji, the month long ac­tivities is to highlight the realities of breast cancer, a push to educate people and at the same time raise funds to support cancer patients, survivors and families.

For one breast cancer survivor and counsellor, Mere­oni Taginadavui, the awareness campaign was also a time to advocate for the legalisation of marijuana for medicinal purposes.

A subject often ignored because of the stigma associ­ated with general marijuana use.

During the Vodafone Fiji High Tea Fundraiser for the Society at the Grand Pacific Hotel on Wednesday, Ms Taginadavui spoke about how cannabis juice helped her recover.

While the juice left her nauseated, like any other herb­al juice – it gave her relief.

Her 78 year old mother who was diagnosed of cancer five years ago, today uses cannabis oil to relieve her ail­ments.

In Labasa, a 26-year-old woman with multiple tumours in her stomach takes a dosage of 7 teaspoonfuls of can­nabis juice a day – three in the morning and four in the evening.

For two weeks now, the tumour has reduced and so has the pain.

Political parties in the past have stayed clear from any discussions about the legalisation of cannabis for me­dicinal purposes.

Perhaps now is a good time to revisit and get the topic top of the agenda again.

For our cancer patients, it’s a matter of bearing the pain and even life or death when much needed treat­ment is not available locally.

Feedback: rosi.doviverata@fijisun.com.fj

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