Better care for cancer patients

QEH looking at dedicated surgery time for cancer patients

The Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) is looking to improve the current level of service it offers to cancer patients.

Speaking to the media today during a press conference to announce the Sagicor Globeathon 2014, Gynaecological Oncologist Dr Vikash Chatrani, who is also a clinical director of the Barbados Cancer Society, noted that currently there was no dedicated surgery time for cancer patients.

“As you can imagine when somebody gets diagnosed with cancer and needs surgery they want it right away and that makes clinical sense and we want to do it right away.
So we put ourselves in their shoes and we give them the next available date.

“But what happens is we actually have patients who are booked for surgery one year in advance for fibroids and those sort of things and we end up having to push them back and these are women who have taken time off from work, relatives have come from overseas to help them in their after care and we are having to tell them ‘we are sorry, we have an emergency case, a lady with cancer, and we are going to try and do you the following week’.

“. . .  The administration is looking into it to see how best they can give us dedicated operative theatre time to do cancer patients,” he said.

With below the belt cases of cancer appearing to be on the increase in Barbados, the medical specialist said all efforts were being made to tackle the issue.

He noted that since 2012 the QEH had performed hundreds of surgeries on women, including a 95-year-old woman, who is now 97, and also women as young as 15 and 24.

A Gynae/Oncology Tumor Board was established back in March 2013 focused on a multi-disciplinary approach to the caring of women with complex cancers. It has been accredited by the Medical Registration Board.

Chatrani said the hospital was moving to set up a centre of excellence to treat and prevent below the belt cancers.

He also said a gynaecology cancer and prevention unit, specialising in cancer care and preventative care, was also
in the making.

“It has been shown that treatment of women with gynaecological cancers by a specialist team has improved survival, improved management and not only are we trying to treat cancer cases, but we are trying to increase the awareness to prevent cancer,” he said.

“If you can do things to prevent cancer you are better off than having to see the doctor with cancer. So getting your pap smear, getting vaccinated, understanding what signs and symptoms to look out for that may be the herald of cancer forming, like bleeding after menopause, abdominal signs that you may get of early ovarian cancer. . .,” said Dr Chatrani, as he emphasised the importance of the centre of excellence.


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