To tackle cervical cancer, Gov’t considers use of brachytherapy


To eliminate cervical cancer by 2030, the Government of Guyana is considering all options to ensure this target is met.

Following the launch of the national strategy last week, subject Minister Dr Frank Anthony said efforts are underway to acquire brachytherapy, a radiation treatment that is given directly onto the body to destroy cancer cells.

It is among the newest local treatment options after a diagnosis.

At this time, the Health Ministry is focused on providing screening for women and in cases where cancer cells are detected, 90 per cent of them must get access to treatment.

The ministry will ramp up its treatment options with assistance from international partners such as Mount Sinai.

“We want to ensure that 90 per cent of them at least would have access to treatment and treatment comes in different forms.

“In some cases, we will be doing surgeries and in other cases, they will require brachytherapy. Right now we don’t have brachytherapy available in the country but this is one of the commitments that we have made as a government to ensure that we can provide brachytherapy,” the Health Minister said.

Minister of Health Dr. Frank Anthony speaking at the event (Photo: DPI/ September 06, 2023)

The government has offered support to cancer patients who require chemo and radiation treatment. But even so, Dr Anthony said it is a costly and tedious task to acquire treatment options such as brachytherapy because it is unavailable here.

“For persons who need them, they either have to go to Suriname some go to Trinidad and you could imagine the inconvenience to those persons,” Dr Anthony said.

A comprehensive screening plan was launched last week following the arrival of several testing kits for the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV). This virus is the leading cause of cervical cancer.

These tests are often about $25,000 at private institutions, Dr Anthony previously said. In addition, the HPV vaccines are still being offered for children ages nine to 17 and adults ages 18 to 45 to prevent HPV infection.

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