Cancer Centre treating more patients


Three years after its opening, the Cancer Centre Eastern Caribbean on Queen Elizabeth Highway has been making great strides on the island and across the region, especially where breast cancer cases are concerned.

Medical Director of the facility Dr Thomas McGowan declared that the Medical Pavilion has made tremendous improvements in the lives of many women across the island.

“Where radiation has a very important impact is when you can do radiation locally. Women no longer need to lose their breasts when they get breast cancer. They can have the lump removed and we can give radiation afterward and I would say that has had a huge impact on a patient’s quality of life; you can imagine the difference between having your breast and not having your breast.  So I would say that has been something I am very proud of, the impact that we’ve had,” Dr McGowan noted.

Medical Director Cancer Centre Eastern Caribbean Dr Thomas McGowan

The American oncologist added that the numbers speak for themselves, stating that over the past thirty months they have seen an increase in patients who have already had their breast lumps removed, compared to what it was when they first started.

“Over the past two and a half years, I have seen a marked increase in the percentage of patients who have had their lumps removed and who have retained their breasts versus when we first started when that was very uncommon. It has had a huge impact,” the oncologist disclosed.

When asked about the ratio of male to female using the complex, he said that it is about even, with prostate cancer, breast cancer, cervix cancer and lymphoma among the most common cancers being treated at the Centre.

“It’s pretty much even, the incidence of cancers between men and women overall. When you look at per hundred thousand population-based incidences, it’s pretty much the same. I mean, obviously, the mix of cancers are different, men get prostate cancer, and women get breast cancer, cervix cancer and endometrial cancer.

Then, of course, the other ones like rectal cancer, lymphoma, those are the diseases they both get but overall it’s about fifty-fifty, it’s a pretty even mix,” declared Dr McGowan.

The doctor, who hails from Minnesota, said although he wished the Centre was seeing many more patients, he is pleased overall with the number of lives that the institution has touched and changed.

“I am seeing patients that I know that if we weren’t here they would not have gotten radiation and they would have suffered the consequences of not being able to get this type of treatment, so yes we have had an impact.  I think it could be bigger but it takes time.”

The Cancer Centre Eastern Caribbean was officially opened in June 2015.

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