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Thompson battling pancreatic cancer


WADE GIBBONS

Thompson battling pancreatic cancer

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PRIME MINISTER DAVID THOMPSON is battling pancreatic cancer.
But he is in good spirits and is due to return home next week.
Personal physician Dr Richard Ishmael speaking early Thursday at a media briefing at his Belleville, St Michael office says Thompson’s “mind, brain and intellect are as sharp as ever” and from a medical standpoint there is no reason why he cannot continue to perform his duties as Prime Minister, albeit at a reduced pace.
Ishmael says after inconclusive initial tests on Thompson for complaints of abdominal pain that started in March this year, two biopsies on him were conducted at the New York Presbyterian Hospital of Columbia and Cornell Universities and these also proved “non diagnostic”.
This was the situation in May but Ishmael says when Thompson returned to New York for a third biopsy, the diagnosis confirmed that of “carcinoma of the pancreas”which manifested itself in the form of a tumour.
“Because of the position of the tumour [it was surrounded by several important blood vessels which made its removal technically difficult] surgery was not feasible and after consultations with three world renown pancreatic surgeons, it was decided that the best course of action was for him to undergo intense chemotherapy to try to shrink the tumor first, to enable its safe removal,” he says.
Ishmael says Thompson has had four rounds of chemotherapy followed by repeat abdominal CT scans which showed moderate shrinkage of the tumor with no new spread.
He says Thompson then developed intense abdominal pain and vomiting last Sunday fortnight.
“An urgent CT scan of the abdomen revealed that he had developed thrombus [clot] in the veins surrounding and traversing the pancreas.” Thompson returned to the New York Presbyterian Hospital where treatment started to dissolve the clot.
The leader, he says, has lost considerable weight due to the treatment, and feels tired at times and needs to rest more than usual to regain his strength.
Thompson, Barbados’ sixth Prime Minister, and the representative for the rural constituency of St John, has been a Member of Parliament since 1987.
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