Cancer epidemiology in the Pacific Islands - Past, present and future

Malcolm A. Moore, Francine Baumann, Sunia Foliaki, Marc T. Goodman, Robert Haddock, Roger Maraka, Josefa Koroivueta, David Roder, Thomas Vinit, Helen J D Whippy, Tomotaka Sobue

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

36 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The Pacific Ocean contains approximately 25,000 islands, stretching from Papua New Guinea to Easter Island, populated by mixtures of Melanesians, Micronesians and Polynesians, as well as migrant groups from Asia and Europe. The region encompasses a third of the surface of the earth although it is sparsely populated at a total of around 9 million. With the exception of some of the more populated islands, such as New Zealand and Hawaii, few surveys of chronic diseases have been conducted, but it is increasingly recognized that obesity, diabetes and associated conditions are emerging public health problems and clearly there is a need for cooperation to optimize control. Here we focus on cancer registry and epidemiological findings for Papua New Guinea, the Solomons, Vanuatu, Samoa, New Caledonia, Fiji, Polynesia, French Polynesia, Maori in New Zealand, Native Hawaiians, Micronesia, including Guam, and Aboriginal populations in Australia as assessed by PubMed searches and perusal of the International Agency for Cancer Research descriptive epidemiology database. Overall, the major cancers in males are oral and liver in Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands, and lung and prostate elsewhere (Fiji being exceptional in demonstrating a predominance of esophageal cancer), whereas in females it is breast and either cervix or lung, depending largely on whether cervical cancer screening program is active. In certain locations thyroid cancer is also very prevalent in females. The similarities and variation point to advantages for collaborative research to provide the evidence-base for effective cancer control programs in the region.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)99-106
Number of pages8
JournalAsian Pacific Journal of Cancer Prevention
Volume11
Issue numberSUPPL.2
Publication statusPublished or Issued - 2010
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Oncology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Cancer Research

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