Dr. Peter Brett: Bringing Cancer Care to Underserved Populations

Dr. Peter Brett: Bringing Cancer Care to Underserved Populations

Dr. Peter Brett is a Board-certified Oncologist with over 25 years of experience in private practice in the San Francisco Bay Area. In 2019, Dr. Brett made a big change by relocating to the island of Saipan in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI). His mission was to build a cancer center from the ground up to serve the remote and underserved population of roughly 50,000 residents. In March of 2020, the Northern Marianas Oncology Center officially opened to the public, marking a significant milestone for the CNMI.

Before Dr. Brett’s arrival, all cancer patients diagnosed in the CNMI were referred off-island for care, which was both costly and isolating for patients. In addition to medical costs and the physical toll that treatments take, patients found themselves alone for months at a time without the support of family and friends, all while incurring high travel expenses. The Oncology Center, which is fully staffed with medical professionals, offers patients with chemotherapy, immunotherapy, targeted cancer treatment medicines, and simple surgeries. Patients who require complex surgeries or radiation therapy are still referred off-island, but the Oncology Center coordinates all of their care for them.

In addition to treating patients who are already diagnosed with cancer, Dr. Brett’s outreach programs include population education to minimize the number of late-stage cancer diagnoses walking into the Oncology Center. Through these programs, Dr. Brett educates the community on healthy lifestyle habits that can help to prevent cancers from forming and how to take advantage of early detection testing.

In March of 2022, Dr. Peter Brett helped launch the Cancer and Associated Risks Early Screening (CARES) program, which offers free cancer testing to all residents of the CNMI. Through CARES, residents qualify for a range of cancer screenings, including color genetic testing, mammograms, breast removal surgery, pap smears, colonoscopies, CT scans, and oral screenings to detect cancers. The comprehensive program also offers cancer prevention counseling, vaccines, screening advice, testing, and follow-up sessions.

Dr. Peter Brett and his team at the CHCC Oncology Center are open from 8-5 every Monday-Friday, providing cancer care, cancer screenings, and education on cancer prevention.

Dr. Peter Brett’s commitment to cancer care for underserved populations has made a significant impact on the CNMI. His dedication to educating the community on cancer prevention and offering free cancer testing through the CARES program has helped many residents receive early detection and positive outcomes. Dr. Peter Brett’s work serves as a reminder of the importance of accessible healthcare for all, regardless of where they live.

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