H. E. Mr. LU Kun, Chinese Ambassador to Dominica
H. E. Mr. LU Kun, Chinese Ambassador to Dominica

Chinese Oncologist Dr. Zijun Zhen says Dominica's rate of cancer deaths are due mainly to life styles, the environment and obesity.

"In recent years, the incidence of cancers has increased in Dominica. In addition to the poor natural environment and poverty, personal habits such as lack of physical exercise, obesity, too little fruit and vegetable intake, smoking and drinking can also lead to an increasing cancer incidence," Dr. Zhen said.

Speaking at press conference to introduce a group of four doctors, Dr. Zhen said early detection and speedy treatment can significantly reduce the number of deaths due to cancer.

"Because of the lack of these examinations and treatments, patients can only seek overseas help. It is inconvenient to go abroad for examination and treatment, especially for the elderly or patients with serious illness. It takes a long time to go abroad for examination which may delay treatment. Because of the high cost, some poor patients have to give up some examinations or treatments, which will affect the treatment and the efficacy," Dr. Zhen said.

"Early detection, diagnosis and treatment are the basic principles of cancer diagnosis and treatment. Delays in diagnosis and treatment will certainly affect the efficacy and lead to increased cancer mortality.

"In Princess Margaret Hospital, a patient with cervical cancer had not been treated for 8 months after diagnosis. As a result, the cancer progressed from early stage to advanced stage. And patients with breast cancer who undergo radical mastectomy often do not start chemotherapy for 3 months. Normally the interval should be 2-4 weeks.

"The reasons for delays in comprehensive cancer diagnosis and treatment are mainly related to the poor economy of Dominica, inadequate medical facilities, and insufficient professionals".

In addition to Dr. Zhen, the group of doctors includes Urologist Dr. Youqiang Fang, Ophthalmologist, Dr. Bin Liu and Cardiologist Dr. Dexi Wu. They arrived in Dominica on July 15th 2019 and are attached to the Princess Margaret Hospital. They will provide medical assistance to Dominica for one year.