Research into breast cancer is expected to start soon as Tobago moves towards improving its healthcare services.
The project is seen as a way to map the possible causes of this type of cancer. The research will help policy-makers introduce programmes geared at earlier detection of the disease.
The Division of Health, Wellness and Family Development is collaborating with the Washington School of Medicine and Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey on the project.
“We are trying to understand the genetic make-up, the molecular [composition] of these cancers that we have in our women,” Secretary for Health, Wellness and Family Development Dr. Agatha Carrington said.
Currently, about 175 breast cancer patients are being treated at the Oncology Department of the Scarborough General Hospital. She added that while breast cancer is being treated on the island, the disease has not been studied the way it should be.
The research project begins this month, while psychological support will also be provided to breast cancer patients. Currently, chemotherapy is the only cancer treatment service provided in Tobago.
The Assembly is also exploring the possibility of constructing a Cancer Treatment Centre using Public-Private Partnership financing. The centre will provide a range of cancer treatment options so patients won’t have to travel elsewhere for access.