By Geraldine Bicette-Joseph, GIS ST Lucia
(GIS) – The Cancer Centre Eastern Caribbean (TCCEC) is on a drive to raise awareness of the processes to be taken to access radiation treatment at the centre.
Located in Antigua, TCCEC was launched in 2015. In 2017 a branch of the centre opened in Saint Lucia at the Tapion Hospital. While the branch situated at Tapion offers oncologic consultations and systemic therapy, radiation treatment is provided at the centre in Antigua.
Dr Glenn Jones, TCCEC Radiation Oncologist, states that this in no way makes accessing radiation treatment difficult. Initially the process starts with a referral from one’s general practitioner.
“It is very important that when the referral is made that we have a lot of the background information. So for instance there may be imaging studies like CAT scans and mammograms and we need those reports but we often also need to see those images, the pictures. We need the pathology reports. For most patients that get cancer there is a piece of tissue that is looked at in the lab and there is a report on what type of cancer it might be, so we need that report as well. Sometimes we need it reviewed or further discussed. At that point there may be discussions between ourselves, referring physicians, other physicians, about the situation so that we can all share the same information to ensure that the information is complete.”
Dr Jones added that the centre ensures that once the referral is made, procedures are taken for the patient to be seen as soon as possible.
“If there are additional tests to be done we can help direct that and at some point along this process a decision can be made that it is the right time for the patient to be seen with family or friends. Then the decision will be made as to what the best treatment will be. So sometimes this can be immediate if it is an urgent situation or it can take several days. Right now our typical time from referral to being seen is approximately six days.”
The centre also has a range of funding plans available to clients which aids in making treatment attainable regardless of economic circumstances.