In 2019, Dr. Peter Brett, a Board Certified physician, relocated to Saipan after working as an oncologist in San Francisco for 27 years. With a wealth of knowledge and experience, Dr. Brett was an ideal candidate to build an oncology practice from the ground up in Saipan. Now, not only can residents receive treatments and simple surgeries on-island, but Dr. Pete Brett has launched a campaign with the Commonwealth Healthcare Corporation (CHCC) to educate residents on healthy lifestyles and the importance of early detection.
Background on Dr. Peter Brett
Dr. Peter Brett has been working as a Board-certified Oncologist for more than 25 years, primarily in private practice. Dr. Brett attended Stanford University for both his undergraduate and his medical degrees and completed his residency at Stanford University Hospital, as well as a Fellowship at the National Institutes of Health. He brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to Saipan.
Dr. Brett’s Arrival in Saipan
When Dr. Peter Brett arrived in Saipan, cancer care on the island was almost nonexistent. While Commonwealth Healthcare Corporation (CHCC) staff had an interest in helping cancer patients, they did not have a program in place. The majority of patients were referred off-island to Guam, the Philippines, Hawaii, or the mainland US. While sending patients off-island ensures that they receive the necessary treatments and surgeries to achieve remission, it also interrupts their lives, increases the cost of care dramatically, and removes important support systems during a very difficult time.
Dr. Brett’s Contributions to Cancer Care in Saipan
The Oncology Center officially opened to the public in 2020 and began to treat cancer using chemotherapy, immunotherapy, and targeted cancer treatment medicines. But Dr. Brett was alarmed at how many late-stage cancer patients were walking into the Center, seeking treatment for the first time. The majority of the cancers that Dr. Brett and his team are treating are cervical cancer, colorectal cancer, breast cancer, lung cancer, and mouth cancer. Mouth cancers are especially common, as well as being difficult to treat, painful, and disfiguring for those who suffer from them.
Together with his team of caring nurses, pharmacists, physician assistants, patient navigators, and financial counselors, Dr. Peter Brett is proud of the work being done in Saipan. But he knows that there is much more that he and his team can do. Since its inception, the Oncology Center has actively reached out to the community to engage them in the conversation about cancer prevention and detection. Dr. Peter Brett has hosted Livestream “Doc Talks” and invited questions from the community. The goal is to educate more residents on how they can best prevent cancer, detect cancer early, and treat cancer.
In March 2022, the CHCC Oncology Center took the next step and began to offer a free cancer screening program for all residents of the CNMI. Any resident can now receive screening mammograms, pap smears, HPV testing, FIT tests, and low-dose screening CT chest – completely free of charge. Dr. Peter Brett emphasizes the importance of early detection for effective treatment: “If cancer is detected early on…it is easier to treat and is more likely to have a better outcome compared to stage three or stage four cancer where it is spreading all over the body.”
Dr. Peter Brett has made a tremendous impact on cancer care in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. His arrival in Saipan in 2019 brought oncology care to an island where cancer care was extremely limited. Since then, Dr. Brett has built an Oncology Center that provides chemotherapy, immunotherapy, and targeted cancer treatment medicines. He has also launched a campaign with the Commonwealth Healthcare Corporation to educate residents on healthy lifestyles and the importance of early detection.
Dr. Brett and his team have treated numerous late-stage cancer patients, with the majority of cases being cervical cancer, colorectal cancer, breast cancer, lung cancer, and mouth cancer. Dr. Brett and his team are committed to improving cancer prevention, detection, and treatment, and they have actively engaged with the community through Livestream “Doc Talks” and free cancer screening programs.
Thanks to Dr. Brett’s expertise and dedication, residents of the CNMI now have access to life-saving cancer care and the resources to prevent and detect cancer early.