Submitted by SR. Esther Pakau (RN) Radiation Oncology Trainee
Cancer in Papua New Guinea is largely incurable and the best success rate in the treatment of cancer is early detection. Due to challenges in surveillance and the fact that many cancers in PNG go undiagnosed; the exact rates of cancer mortality and morbidity across PNG are unknown. However, several reviews have revealed that cancer is on the rise. The treatment for cancer in PNG includes surgery, Chemotherapy, and radiotherapy. Radiation therapy service is not currently available. However, under construction and it will be available by the end of the year. The three main goals of cancer care, as determined by cancer type and stage, are to cure cancer, control cancer, and relieve symptoms caused by cancer.
The ICCN conference was introduced to us by Dr. Pauline Rose. It was a unique opportunity to meet with the many cancer nursing leaders from around the world who gave their time, experience, and thoughts on all aspects of cancer care.
As a PNG cancer nurse, it would be an opportunity for me to invite and encourage other nursing officers to join in with cancer care. As many cancer nurses join in cancer care baseline surveys will be carried out in order to better understand the general knowledge of cancer, habits, and behavioral trends within a particular community.
Submitted by Sr Delosi Ewetau: Nurse Unit Manager Cancer Clinic POMGEN.
I am 46years old and from Wagawaga Village, Milne Bay Province, Papua New Guinea. I was a Surgical Nurse for 12 years. It was mid-January 2009; I was appointed by my immediate unit supervisor to be a caretaker for the Cancer Day Clinic for 6 weeks, as the 2 nurses in the Cancer Clinic were away. One was on study break and her colleague on Recreation Leave. With very little knowledge about Cancer, and none on Chemotherapy at all, I didn’t object the offer as I wanted to know more about Cancer and Chemotherapy Nursing.
I did my Bachelor’s degree in Clinical Nursing (ICU) in 2011, graduated in April 2012. In June 2019 and did 10weeks attachment in Taiwan in Cancer Nursing. Cancer Nursing, usually I thought was just assisting patient with pain relief, doing dressings and chemotherapy. But cancer nursing includes the holistic approach/care of a patient. I went through Hell, and as years go by, through reading aggressively, self-thought, I gained more self-confidence. I also learnt more by my patients asking more questions and sharing their experience on the fight on cancer, the battles they go through chemotherapy, family issues etc. All these make me to read up more so I can assist them in counseling or in the care I give. I thank all my patients, we lost most, some still fighting and living with cancer for many years now. We also have many new cases every day.
Thank God, I am what I am today in my career as an Oncology nurse by experience. I am glad new changes emerged, new Oncology Centre building in progress, Oncology doctors, new recruits of registered nursing (manpower increased). I encouraged my nurses to read more and show interest and to be humble in whatever they do, if they want to be successful in their career as Oncology nurses. Zoom conference with ICCN was a success, a great opportunity for me. I heard lots of the presentations – it was very interesting. I enjoyed the keynote Address 2- “Promoting and Strengthening Nursing Leadership”.
New facility, new beds and comfortable chemo beds, for a better comfort for our cancer patients. Another way forward for us all. Looking forward for the new Cancer Centre to be completed.
Cancer is one of the top 10 diseases in Papua New Guinea. Most of the people in PNG don’t have much knowledge about cancer even today in various societies. Due to cultural beliefs and traditional norms people dying of cancer are taught to be dying because of curse or some forms of sorceries. My grandmother was diagnosed with cervical cancer in 2015. This was the time I was still in college. She passed away after a year. This has driven me to choose cancer nursing as my career part way.
I started my employment with Port Moresby General Hospital in 2018. I was attached to obstetrics and gynaecology department. For two years I provide nursing care to gynae mothers. I spent most of my working hours providing palliative care and counselling to patients with advanced cancers and those with poor prognosis. During that time, I had little knowledge about cancer. Seeing mothers dying of cancer is one of the painful feelings I usually had and sometimes share tears with the family members and love ones. While working in the gynae ward, I found out that most of my colleagues ignore dealing with chemotherapy. They are always afraid of the handling the cytotoxic drugs and the patient’s receiving chemotherapy. Without any doubt, I volunteered to assist my gynae doctors in administering chemotherapy for my patients. Most nurses criticized me, but down in my heart I used to say “if Cancer nursing is my call, I will not give up and I will not be affected with any of the cytotoxic effects”.
Until last year our hospital has decided to have a cancer centre of its own. Following my interest in cancer nursing I was transferred to the cancer clinic. Working in the cancer clinic has given me many experiences in cancer and its management. I learn new knowledge from the nurse unit manager, my colleagues and the doctors about chemotherapy. I also learn many things from the in-service meetings regarding radiation therapy which helps me to fully understand what cancer is from diagnosis to the management part of it.
I also personally would like to thank the ISNCC to offer me the scholarship to attend ICCN 2022. I really enjoyed the program and this was my first time to expose myself to the outside world. The presentation from international nurses through ICCN 2022 has enabled me to fully understand cancer nursing at a larger scale. Furthermore, with the help of the newly built cancer centre in Port Moresby General Hospital, it will help lower the cancer burden in the country as there is greater hope for the people in Papua New Guinea in treatment of cancer through Radiation Therapy.
Submitted by Sr. Standa Norbert RNO Oncology Trainee Nurse
I’m a Papua New Guinean practicing general nursing at Port Moresby General Hospital. Currently I’m working at the cancer day care clinic. I’m doing chemotherapy administration and mixing plus basic training for radiation oncology as part of my oncology training in Papua New Guinea.As a training nurse for oncology nursing in Papua New Guinea, I observe that cancer care was poor. In which we only assist the patients for Chemotherapy and further side effects and other management is manage by the doctors.
For Palliative Cancer care, we don’t have proper facility to look after the patients, therefore most of the palliative cancer patients used to stay at their home and was taken care by their own family. They only come to the Hospital to get Chemotherapy, surgery or when they are too sick. Some family take good care of the cancer patients while others are rejected by their own family, because of the growing tumors and the odours it produces. Therefore, I see Oncology nursing as a challenging job in my country.
The scholarship about the ICCN was introduced to me by the radiation oncologist in Papua New Guinea. Therefore, I would like to acknowledge Dr Pauline Rose who is currently training the radiation oncology nurses in Papua New Guinea and Suzanne Bishaw who is the Director of Conference Management for the International Society for Nurses in Cancer Care (ISNCC) for making the ICCN 2022 scholarship successful (2022).
During the ICCN conference these are the topics I enjoyed;
Keynote: climate change and health Impacts, by Nick Watts, Pasty Yates, Suzanne Bishaw,
Industrial symposium; safe to touch-how nursing and Pharmacy can partner on HD surface contamination monitoring by Mikaela Olsen, Patricia Kienie
Instructional session 1. Managing a palliative care population on an inpatient oncology unit by Kathleen Shuey, Lisa Chart, SasilekhaIyothik.
Those above topics got my attention because the presentation shows the way forward and it also differentiate the wrong and the right practice. Furthermore, the ICCN 2022 motivates me to become better and advance my practice to an international standard.
In addition, I would like to encourage my fellow nurses in my country to take up oncology nursing, by doing a lot of practice and networking with other oncology nurses around the globe to promote the standard of cancer care. Moreover, I would like to share my knowledge gained from oncology and ICCN 2022 with other nurses by clinical teaching and Presentation.
I’m Sr Hassel Agudiyosi, 26years old from Papua New Guinea, currently working with Port Moresby General Hospital. This is my fifth year of working as a registered nursing officer, and my 2nd year of working with the cancer clinic at Port Moresby General Hospital.
My country Papua New Guinea is a low-income country and it is still developing. We have 22 provinces and cancer is now becoming one of the serious health problems across the country. ‘In country’ we don’t have proper facilities to diagnose cancer, only Port Moresby General Hospital has the facility for treating minorities; the majority in 21 provinces in the country don’t have the cancer facility and no proper protocol to treat cancer. Therefore, most of the patients suffer and die without receiving any cancer treatment. Others don’t seek medical attention due to a lack of health services, no basic services such as roads, etc., (the remote parts with no government services at all). Some provinces have a cancer center but no lab to run the test, no chemo drug, no doctors, etc. However, with all basic problems, Team Cancer Papua New Guinea are working hand in hand to give the best they can to those who have cancer by using limited resources available and the holistic approach to individual patients and relatives entering the cancer clinic for help.
Therefore, attending 2022 ICCN under scholarship was the greatest opportunity for me and the nursing team in Papua New Guinea, Port Moresby General Hospital. It wouldn’t be possible for us to attend if these two powerful women were not known to us, Pauline Rose our main mentor and Suzanne Bishaw. These two powerful women give light to Papua New Guinea Cancer Care by exposing us to the world by learning and experiencing care towards cancer and its global effects.
I’m also very pleased to be part of the International Conference Cancer Nursing 2022 (ICCN) and to know the impact of cancer nursing on equitable cancer control worldwide. And be part of the team describing and sharing innovative approaches to nursing education, practice, research, and policy. At the same time, us sharing and know the current status, and barriers from different countries and work together for the solution of each health sector that has an impact on individuals’ environment. Credit goes to the organizing team for ICCN 2022 for a well-organized conference, I myself really enjoy it even if it was midnight, I was fully awake enjoying and learning new things.
With all these, I’m dreaming to be an agent of change and planning to help other nurses in the country to become oncology nurses by extending and delivering the best care to those in town and in the remote places with cancer to at least see medical help and holistic approach from nurses, friends and loved ones. Remind individuals that there is Hope. I will need your greatest support to help me achieve my dream, in terms of training, attachment program, presentation on line and a light a lamp on my feet.