Health experts working to establish network for regional cancer patients

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Health experts working to establish network for regional cancer patients

Friday, March 09, 2018

CASTRIES, St Lucia (CMC) — A team of medical experts meeting in St Lucia are seeking to establish a network that will benefit cancer patients across the region.

The initiative is being spearheaded by The Cancer Centre Eastern Caribbean (TCCEC) which says it is continuously working towards more effective and efficient diagnostic techniques.

“Cancer patients are treated and cured not by single individuals but by a team” explained Dr Tom McGowan, Managing and Medical Director of (TCCEC), at the opening ceremony for the Eastern Caribbean Cancer Pathology meeting Wednesday.

“When you think about how you treat cancer and how you cure patients with cancer, the single most important thing you can do is make the right decision on how to treat them.”

“You can have someone carry out the treatment perfectly, but if it’s the wrong treatment you are carrying it perfectly wrong. So you need to make the right decision and modern cancer therapy it means that we must have multi-disciplinary decision making,” Mc Gowan said.

He noted that all of the people  involved in the cure of cancer need to come together to decide how they are going to treat the patients, “we only decide that based on diagnosis, so pathology is the foundation of cancer treatment.”

It is against this background, recognising that diagnostic oncology is the foundation for oncology patient management – that the Cancer Centre is hosting the two-day meeting here.

The official delegation comprised of a team of pathologists, clinical personnel, and others involved in quality of care from across the region.

St Lucia Pathologist Dr Stephen King said the thrust behind this is to create a network which will benefit the Caribbean.

“Creating a community of practice under the Eastern Caribbean diagnostic oncology network, what that does is it allows us to implement standards, to work together for peer review, for second opinions.

“It allows us to no longer practice in a solo way where we have a small population of people served by a single practitioner pathologist but rather the entire OECS population served by a group of pathologists who are supporting each other in this network,” he added.

King noted that in addition –  “one would appreciate that we need communication technology and information technology so that we can actually share images and information so that we can deliver the kinds of quality diagnosis that we know our conditions require of us.”

The Antigua based Cancer Centre Eastern Caribbean (TCCEC) is working closely with government and other health institutions to effectively network, in order to curb this dominant malady and help save lives

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