Since arriving in Saipan in 2019, resident oncologist Dr. Peter Brett has diagnosed many patients with late-stage cancers. As someone who is in the business of healing, this is a troubling pattern that often leads to poor outcomes. Preventing cancer or catching it early is critical if a treatment plan is going to be effective.
With this in mind, the Commonwealth Healthcare Corporation (CHCC) has worked to launch its CARES program, which stands for Cancer and Associated Risks Early Screening. The most exciting part about CARES is that it is free to everyone that wants to participate in the program. If you have insurance, CHCC will bill your insurance, but if you do not have insurance, you can still take advantage of the program at no cost.
Dr. Peter Brett Joins Saipan’s First Cancer Care Center
The goal of CARES is to engage the entire community of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI – Saipan). Dr. Pete Brett would love to see all 50,000+ residents take advantage of the cancer prevention counseling, vaccines, screening advice, testing, and follow-up sessions that all fall under the CARES program.
As Oncology Center Nurse Practitioner Josh Holloway explains, “Prevention is really what cancer screening is helping with. If you think that you may have cancer, or you’re concerned about cancer because maybe you have a family history, being able to be screened appropriately and catching them early or figuring out ways to help prevent cancer in the first place is worth it. Having cancer is full of challenges and heartaches and problems.”
In order to participate in CARES, you can call and make an appointment at the CHCC Oncology Center (670-234-8950), which is followed by an interview with basic questions about your health conditions, lifestyle, and family history. This will dictate what tests are ordered for you. If a patient has a first-degree family member over the age of 50 that has been diagnosed with cancer, they qualify automatically for genetic testing. The swab is sent off-island for additional testing.
The cancers that Dr. Pete Brett encounters the most are cervical, lung, and oral cancers. Dr. Brett is very hopeful that the CARES program will prevent cancers from developing, or at least help with diagnosing cancers at a stage that is much more treatable.
The team at the Oncology Center also stresses the importance of lifestyle changes that can help to prevent cancer in the future, such as staying away from cigarettes, alcohol, and chewing betel nuts. Diet and exercise also factor into your overall health.
The Oncology Center is made up of two nurse practitioners, two physician assistants, and one oncologist. The entire staff is involved in the CARES program in hopes to be able to provide effective treatments and better outcomes for their patients.
CHCC is so passionate about the program and how many lives it could save that they have launched a full-fledged marketing campaign to educate the public on its availability. This includes live-streamed “Doc Talks,” social media ads, radio advertisements, press releases, and speaking to the public at community events. Investing heavily in CARES means that future cancer treatments will be much less expensive. All residents aged 18 years and older are encouraged to begin scheduling regular cancer screenings so that it becomes a habit.
Dr. Peter Brett has been treating cancer patients for over 25 years, and in the CNMI for three years. He worked with the existing CHCC staff to create the Oncology Center from the ground up in 2019, and has been focused on community awareness of cancers ever since.
For more information about the CHCC Northern Marianas Oncology Center Dr. Pete Brett please visit this website.
Dr. Peter Brett of Saipan Links
Dr. Pete Brett, Saipan’s First Dedicated Oncology Doctor, Stresses Education & Early Detection
Dr. Peter Brett Joins Commonwealth Healthcare Corporation Oncology Center
Thanks to Dr. Peter Brett and CARES, Late-Stage Cancer Diagnoses Can Become a Thing of the Past in the CNMI