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Nov 8, 2011

Kim Barrow gets cancer treatment in Miami

Kim BArrow

On Monday, it became public that the Prime Minister’s wife, Kim Simplis Barrow, had been diagnosed with breast cancer, this is a health condition for which she has been an advocate along with the Belize Cancer Society. Tests had determined her condition days earlier. On Sunday, Simpliss Barrow, accompanied by the Prime Minister, was flown to the Baptist Hospital in Miami where it was confirmed that the cancer is at stage three. That means it’s an invasive breast cancer which is likely to affect the auxiliary lymph nodes and can potentially spread to different parts of the chest. Further testing was conducted today at the Baptist Hospital to determine whether the cancer has advanced. The recommended treatment for Simpliss Barrow is for her to undergo six radiation sessions, each three weeks apart. It is not known yet whether the wife of the Prime minister will remain in Florida for treatment or if she will be allowed to return to Belize during this difficult time. Earlier today we got an explanation on what is stage there cancer.

Dr. Philip Burgess, General Surgeon

“There are five stages to breast cancer, actually stages zero to four so it’s zero, one, two, three, four. Stage three breast cancer means that the tumor has either spread to the lymph nodes and are in the lymph nodes—lymph nodes are actually glands under the arm and there is tumor in those glands and the tumor in the glands are at an advanced stage. Or, there is tumor in the breast which has grown to the extent that it is either larger than five centimeters or it is either fixed to the skin or fixed to the muscle underlying the breast.”

Delahnie Bain

“So what are the symptoms that a patient would be experiencing at that stage of the cancer?”

Dr. Philip Burgess

“The most likely symptom would be a lump in the breast or a change in the shape and contour of the breast. There may be dimpling in the breast, there may be sometimes there’s a discharge from the nipple and that can happen from the earlier stages—stage one and stage two or it can happen at stage three. Sometimes there is no lump in the breast, no lump that you can appreciate and there’s a lump under the arm that is getting bigger or that is bothering the patient. There are various treatment options; surgery, radio therapy, chemo therapy and what we call hormonal therapy are the four general branches of treatment of breast cancer.  Over ninety percent of patients with breast cancer require chemo therapy at some stage and all patients up to stage three, surgery will be a part of their management and many of the patients at stage four also will require surgery. But to be honest, at stage four the primary treatment is chemo therapy. Radiation therapy is a part of it as well and radiation basically uses x-rays or special types of radiation energy and it shoots this radiation at the breast and at the axilla under the arm. In that way it kills the cancer cells.”

Chemo therapy is known to cause hair loss, nausea and vomiting, but Dr. Burgess says that with the advancement of the treatment, the drugs now have fewer side effects. Meanwhile, radiation slightly increases risk of developing new cancer, but it is also being advanced and the benefits far outweigh the risk. Dr. Burgess also notes that while radiation is not available in Belize, the surgery and chemotherapy are. We note that the National Women’s Commission this afternoon issued a release supporting Simplis Barrow at this most difficult period.

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4 Responses for “Kim Barrow gets cancer treatment in Miami”

  1. MADDYVANDIJKDEREALISTO says:

    Breast cancer can be treated if found in it’s early stage. let this be a red flag to all Belizean women to get a check up at their doctors office sooner than later.

    Breast cancer is everybody’s business.

  2. vicky says:

    I AM PRAYING FOR THE FIRST LADY’S SPEEDY RECOVERY. POOR THING, THEN I THOUGHT OF THE ONES WHO CANNOT BE FLOWN TO FLORIDA OR ANYPLACE ELSE FOR TREATMENT.

  3. drose flowers says:

    MY PRAYERS ARE WITH YOU KIM, YOU HAVE DONE A LOT AND THE GOOD LORD KNOWS YOU HAVE A LOT MORE TO DO TO BRING AWARENESS TO WOMEN IN BELIZE ABOUT PREVENTING CANCER THAT AFFECTS WOMEN.

    GOD BLESS YOU AND YOUR HUSBAND OUR PM,

  4. sofia says:

    Hope she recovers well.. I see her as a strong woman. Oue best wishes in her recovery.. This tells us that all of us women should make an appointment to check ourselves..

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