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Lessons to be taken from sad cancer story

Dear Sir,

I was very disheartened to read the article on George Scott-Smith and his story of fighting cancer since 2019, also being complicated by type 1 diabetes. Had he been living in Bermuda, he might not have had to go through the trauma he is experiencing. We all have to make decisions; some we live to regret and others are the correct decisions for us.

May I relate my experiences with prostate cancer, in the hope other men will benefit. It was confirmed I had prostate cancer on December 17, 2021 and referred to Bermuda Cancer and Health Centre for an appointment on December 28 — a public holiday, but they were available for a consultation. Everything moved very quickly from that point in time and I was sent to Dana Farber in Boston for a positron emission tomography scan on January 13, 2022. (PET scans are not available in Bermuda). We were out of the island for less than 48 hours, flying to Boston, getting the scan and returning home January 15. We received the results the next week, which proved cancer was present in the prostate and it had metastasised into my right hip. All other organs were in good shape.

Hormonal treatment commenced upon my return and radiation started in March on the prostate, which lasted five weeks. This was all done in Bermuda — I was able to drive to Point Finger Road and drive home, sleep in my own bed and be with my family, generally getting on with my life. This was a totally different scenario from that taken by other friends who before Bermuda Cancer and Health Centre had the facility for treatment on island, went to Boston, staying five to six weeks and getting ten minutes of treatment a day for five days a week, living in a hotel and with strangers for another 23 hours and 50 minutes per day.

Being in Bermuda, should one experience any side effects, home living and home cooking perked one up. I cannot overestimate this advantage of island treatment.

It was not all a bed of roses, but if one has to go through such an experience, Bermuda is the place to be. All of this treatment is done in consultation with Dana Farber hospital in Boston.

The metastasised lesion in my hip is receiving treatment and will be finished this week. My journey continues and I look for a ray of hope around each corner. I will discover during the next month or so the direction I will be taking with the assistance and advice of a group of very professional people. I ask questions, and there are many more to come on where and what is to be done. One has to be part of the decision-making, knowing your body better than anyone else.

In my humble opinion, the earlier one gets any condition, be it cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure, etc, the easier it is to get and keep everything under control. A regular annual check-up with your GP is essential in finding any of these problems. It has been my experience over many years, people do not pay attention to the advice given, and subsequently the price is paid by the patient with the loss of sight, a limb — and the quality of life deteriorates. This places a large burden on the healthcare system in Bermuda, both from cost and logistical points of view. Until people take responsibility for their own actions, we will continue to suffer the consequences.

May Mr Scott-Smith be successful in his quest for a cure, and I wish him all the best.



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Published November 08, 2022 at 7:46 am (Updated November 08, 2022 at 7:46 am)

Lessons to be taken from sad cancer story

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