Sun | Dec 5, 2021

Central Jamaica gets boost in cancer care

Published:Friday | May 7, 2021 | 4:18 PM
From left: ENT consultant at the Mandeville Regional Hospital in Manchester, Dr Andrew Manning; Chairman of the Manchester Wellness Foundation, Nadine Sinclair; Senior Medical Officer at the hospital, Dr Everton McIntosh, and the hospital’s chief executive officer, Alwyn Miller, examine the equipment donated to the health facility by the foundation on May 6, 2021 – Contributed photo

Persons with laryngeal cancer living in central Jamaica will get better access to diagnostic services and care as a result of life-saving equipment being provided to Mandeville Regional Hospital in Manchester.

Laryngeal cancers are the sixth most common cancer in men.

Rigid laryngoscopes, chest support unit, and biopsy faucets equipment, valued at $1.5 million, which are used to detect and treat laryngeal cancers, were on Thursday donated to the hospital's Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) Department by the Manchester Wellness Foundation.

The foundation, which donates millions to purchasing well-needed equipment and instruments for the hospital annually, has adopted the ENT department.

ENT Consultant at the hospital, Dr Andrew Manning, explained that persons would have to travel to either Kingston or Montego Bay to access these services.

However, Manning says with the acquisition of the state-of-the-art equipment, the services will now be available to central Jamaica.

“If you detect laryngeal cancer you can save someone's life without having to resort to major surgery. If you don't catch it early enough it's quite debilitating and presents the person with severe difficulties, for example, if the mass grows to a certain size you won't be able to breathe. We actually do laryngoscopy here [Mandeville Regional Hospital] but we have been using older equipment for some time. This equipment represents state-of-the-art, modern equipment and we are able to use it with some other bits of equipment that we had before,” Manning explained.

“To put it into perspective, if someone presents to us with certain symptoms, persistent hoarseness being the main symptom, we are able to see that patient, take that patient to theatre, and under general anaesthesia, we can safely do a biopsy and send it to the pathologist and confirm the diagnosis. If we catch it early enough, say stage one or two, we can send the patient either to Montego Bay or Kingston and the Government has recently acquired a linear accelerator so we can treat these patients with minimum morbidity and treat it at an early stage so you are saving that person a lot of trauma,” he added.

The ENT consultant pointed out that having the service at the hospital will cut down on the waiting times in the public system, adding that: “once you can make the diagnosis early you should be able to treat more persons early. If you treat somebody with radiotherapy it means you don't have to have a major surgery and that person doesn't have to come into hospital and stay in bed and use up a lot of oxygen and anaesthesia, so all of this helps towards that.”

For his part, the hospital's chief executive hospital, Alwyn Miller, thanked the foundation for the donation, noting that without their intervention, it would have been unlikely for the hospital to procure the equipment on its own.

“We are very thankful and this will continue to help us as a hospital and the ENT service to respond to emergencies and other selective circumstances. We are very pleased about this partnership which dates back several years and without a doubt, persons outside of the parish will be able to benefit from the improved services from the equipment” Miller said.

Chairman of the foundation, Nadine Sinclair, noted that the organization is honoured to be able to partner with the medical services in the Manchester region and help to improve services in the ENT and other departments in the hospital.

She noted that since the establishment of the foundation in 2003, it has raised and disbursed more than $19 million to health facilities in Manchester.

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