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Top cancer specialist to visit Island

A renowned US cancer specialist will travel to Bermuda this week to speak with residents about radiation therapy.

Tatiana Lingos, director of network development at Brigham and Women’s Hospital’s radiation oncology department, will provide a presentation tomorrow evening at BUEI.

Dr Lingos’s visit comes as the Bermuda Cancer and Health Centre continues to prepare to bring in the Island’s first radiation therapy equipment to tackle cancer.

The charity’s executive director, Tara Soares, told The Royal Gazette that she hoped the multimillion dollar linear accelerator would arrive in the third quarter of next year.

“We hope that after its installation at the Bermuda Cancer and Health Centre patients will begin having treatment with the new machine before the end of the year,” she said.

“The new equipment will be brought in from the US and housed in a new room that will be specially constructed in our building.

“The equipment is very much like an X-ray machine in appearance. It is a single unit and will probably take around two months before we are fully commissioned.

“There are international standards and regulations that we will have to fulfil before patients can be treated.”

Radiation Therapy is a critical tool in the treatment of cancer for up to 67 per cent of people diagnosed with the disease.

Typical treatment is carried out over the course of six weeks with the aim of delivering a total dose of radiation to the tumour sites to kill the cancerous cells.

Ms Soares added: “Radiation therapy is currently not available in Bermuda and therefore people can only receive this type of treatment if they go to an overseas facility.

“Being overseas, for an extended period of time, can be very complicated for many people.

“Long absences from home and loved ones, leave of absences from work and additional costs and out-of-pocket expenses can be some of the hardships people may face.

“Many of the residents in Bermuda do not have health insurance or have only very basic health insurance coverage.

“Last year, we donated $180,000 to uninsured or under-insured patients towards cancer treatment.

“That commitment to help those who can not afford this vital treatment will continue even after the radiation therapy equipment arrives.”

Dr Lingos’s presentation will begin at 6.30pm tomorrow at BUEI. It will be followed by a panel discussion and question-and-answer session with Ms Soares, Christopher Fosker, the clinical oncologist for Bermuda Hospitals Board and Mark Davis, the executive director of strategic initiatives and business development at Brigham and Women’s Health Centre.

• Anyone interested in attending the event should contact Robyn Dickinson-Baras by e-mailing marketing@chc.bm