CaribWorldNews, BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, Fri. Sept. 17, 2010: For months Barbados Prime Minister David Thompson has been suffering from an ailment but it remained a private matter until this week when the disclosure put the spotlight on a bigger health issue plaguing the island.
On Thursday, the PM`s doctor, Dr. Richard Ishmael, revealed that the head of state has been battling pancreatic cancer. But Dr. Ishmael insisted Thompson is responding to chemotherapy.
Ishmael said a tumor in Thompson`s pancreatic gland has shrunk after four rounds of treatment and will eventually be removed. He added that it could not be removed without chemotherapy because it was surrounded by vital blood vessels.
Barbados is one of the countries with the highest number of prostate cancer deaths in the world, according to the World Health Organization
Prostate cancer is a type of cancer that starts in the prostate, a walnut-sized gland found right below the bladder — but only in men. If it isn`t treated, prostate cancer follows a natural course, starting as a tiny group of cancer cells that can grow into a full-blown tumor.
In some men, prostate cancer that isn`t treated can spread and cause death. A regular physical examination and a simple blood test (called a PSA test) are the keys to early diagnosis.
Dr. Ishmael said he first began treating PM Thompson in March, when the prime minister was experiencing stomach pains. The PM later traveled to New York several times for treatment.
He left for the U.S. again last week complaining of vomiting and intense stomach pain, which was caused by a clot in the veins surrounding his pancreas, Ishmael said.
`He is now in good spirits and is scheduled to return to Barbados next week,` Ishmael said. `His mind, brain and intellect are still as sharp as ever, and from a medical standpoint, there is no reason why he cannot continue his duties as prime minister, albeit at a reduced level.`
Deputy Prime Minister Freundel Stuart continues to serve as interim prime minister.
Meanwhile, spotlighting on the issue of cancer in Barbados, the Barbados Cancer Association USA will host a symposium on cancer survivorship on Saturday September 18, 2010 at Suny – Downstate In Brooklyn, NY. For more information log on to: http://www.barbadoscancerusa.org/index.html