New radiation therapy initiative announced

By Lisa Simpson
A new radiation therapy initiative will allow cancer patients to receive comprehensive treatment on the island.

Bermuda Cancer and Health Centre and the Bermuda Hospitals Board have teamed up to offer the service, which was announced at a press conference this morning.

“Between Bermuda Cancer and Health Centre and the Bermuda Hospitals Board our patients will be able to have complete and comprehensive cancer treatment through the two facilities,” Tara Curtis, the executive director of BCHC, said. “Part of the agreement is the sharing of Dr Chistopher Fosker. He is trained in radiation oncology and also medical oncology.”

According to Dr Fosker, a BHB oncologist, there are about 300 new cases of cancer on the island per year and an estimated 120 to 160 patients will need radiation therapy.

“This is a wonderful opportunity for the cancer patients of Bermuda and their families to be able to receive a comprehensive cancer pathway here on island once the radiation is up and running,” Dr Fosker said.

“At the hospital we are seeing all these patients to go through the diagnostic pathway to start their oncology consults but they’re having to go overseas for radiation. The radiation will increase that package so that everything can be done here.”

Some patients undergoing radiation therapy can continue working, he added, while others will be able to “carry on living a normal life and just have their treatment as part of their daily routine”, surrounded by their loved ones.

Dr Fosker added: “The collaboration between the Bermuda Hospitals Board and the Bermuda Cancer and Health Centre is a really important example of working together to improve the healthcare for everyone on the island.”

The programme is expected to save “millions” in terms of what is presently being spent on overseas care, according to Ms Curtis.

She said that while health insurance covers a lot of the cost associated with going abroad to receive treatment, the new initiative will “immediately” result in savings in terms of accommodation, flights and travel companions.

She added that the programme was expected to be up and running within a year.

“We’re very excited that we should be operational within a year. We’re working with a team of experts in making sure that what we are designing and what we are looking to build will meet industry standards regarding safety.”

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