‘Full recovery mode’

Opposition Leader Dr Peter Phillips has assured the Jamaican people that he is on the mend after undergoing successful surgery for what his medical team yesterday said was “stage 3 curable colon cancer”.

At the same time, the doctors expressed optimism “of complete remission based on the worldwide experience of managing this stage” of the disease.

“By now, many of you would have heard that I had a medical procedure done a few weeks ago,” Dr Phillips, who is also president of the People’s National Party (PNP), said in a video filmed at his St Andrew home and released yesterday.

“I am home now and I am on the road to recovery. The fact is that, a few weeks ago, just before the budget debate, having completed my annual medical ex,amination, the doctors discovered an anomaly and figured that we needed to move rapidly,” Dr Phillips, who celebrated his 70th birthday last December, said, adding that the decision was made particularly because of the spread of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in the country and there was uncertainty about “how the COVID situation was going to turn out”.

“They did the surgery, the surgery is successful. I am now at home and I am in full recovery mode,” Phillips said and expressed thanks to health workers at the University Hospital of the West Indies who, he pointed out, gave of their best and assisted in his recovery.

“We need to give them a country equal to their talent, skill, and professionalism,” he said.

Meanwhile, his medical team Professor Terrence Forrester and consultant surgeon Dr Mark Newnham said in a statement yesterday they had completed Dr Phillips’s evaluations on Monday afternoon after successfully removing the cancer on March 23.

“Pathological examination of the specimen, as well as staging procedures, have resulted in this curable/Stage 3 diagnosis,” the doctors said. “Dr Phillips will need further preventative treatment in the form of chemotherapy over the next few months, as an outpatient, as he continues his public duties.”

The doctors said Phillips will remain on leave for the next two weeks.

Meanwhile, the PNP said its officers, after being briefed by the medical team, have expressed confidence in the party president’s “full and complete recovery”.

The party officers also assured PNP members and supporters that during the time while Phillips is on leave, regular party activities, permissible within the restrictions imposed because of the COVID-19 spread “will proceed apace and the party will continue to play its part in ensuring compliance with the national emergency”.

They said Phillips will continue to provide direction and guidance to the party, and will increase his level of public duties on the advice of the medical team.

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