Prior to Dr. Pete Brett’s arrival in 2019, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) had no oncology practice or oncology doctor at all. Cancer screenings were not a common practice, and all cancer patients were referred off-island to the Philippines, Guam, Hawaii, and the mainland US for their treatment. For patients, this meant incurring large travel expenses, as well as months away from family during a difficult time.
But thanks to Dr. Peter Brett relocating to Saipan after spending more than 20 years in cancer treatment in Northern California, the CNMI can now offer a myriad of solutions on-island. His work with the Commonwealth Healthcare Corporation (CHCC) has revolutionized cancer screening and treatment in the commonwealth.
Under Dr. Pete Brett’s guidance, the CHCC Oncology Center opened to the community of nearly 55,000 residents after working to build the center and the staff from the ground up. With a focus on accuracy and safety, the Oncology Center opened with a dedicated staff of physician assistants, nurses, pharmacists, financial counselors, and patient navigators.
Residents of Saipan can now receive chemotherapy, immunotherapy, and targeted cancer treatment medicines, as well as some simple surgeries at the Oncology Center. For those suffering from cervical cancer, colorectal cancer, breast cancer, lung cancer, and mouth cancer, which are all very common in the CNMI, this is a tremendous step forward.
Now the only treatments that require an off-island referral are radiation therapy and complex surgeries. In the case that these are required, the Oncology Center can coordinate all care with specialists for continuity.
Dr. Peter Brett has worked hard to engage the community of Saipan, educating them on the causes of cancer, the importance of screenings and early detection, and how they can best protect their health. Recently, the Oncology Center began offering free cancer screenings to all residents of the CNMI, regardless of insurance status. Dr. Pete Brett hopes that the program will minimize difficult-to-treat cancers from going undetected until the late stages.
The entire community has rallied around Dr. Pete Brett and his staff, praising their work and dedication. As a team, they have made the lives of their patients much more comfortable, with the chance of favorable outcomes being much higher thanks to screenings and early detection.
Learn more about Dr. Peter Brett and his work in Saipan on his website.