Dr. Pete Brett and the CHCC Oncology Center Brings Cancer Care & Prevention Home in Saipan

Just a few short years ago, residents of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) had to travel off-island to receive cancer care. This meant flying to the Philippines, Guam, Hawaii, or the mainland US for months at a time, often facing treatments without family or friends to support them. This also added significant travel expenses to their already hefty medical bills.

But in 2019, oncologist Dr. Peter Brett relocated from Northern California to Saipan. He began working with the Commonwealth Healthcare Corporation (CHCC) to build the Oncology Center that services the entire CNMI. Under his direction, the center is now fully operational, diagnosing patients, providing treatment options, and counseling patients on lifestyle changes that can prevent future cancers.

Dr. Pete Brett works hard to treat patients as well as engage and educate the community on how to best prevent cancers. He has been surprised by how prevalent certain cancers are in the CNMI, including oral, cervical, and lung cancers. Unfortunately, many cancer patients only see Dr. Pete Brett when they have already reached the late stages of their cancer, which dramatically reduces the chances of a positive outcome.

Because of this, Dr. Peter Brett has worked with the CHCC to launch their new CARES program, which stands for Cancer and Associated Risks Early Screening. All CNMI residents over the age of 18 are encouraged to participate in this entirely FREE program that provides early screening, testing, vaccines, and counseling for cancer. Ideally, cancers will be prevented or caught early enough that Dr. Pete Brett and his team can effectively treat patients and create long-term success stories.

Although in terms of practitioners, the Oncology Center is only made up of two nurse practitioners, two physician assistants, and Dr. Peter Brett, they are hoping to reach all 50,000+ residents of the CNMI through the CARES program. CHCC fully supports the program due to its potential to save lives and significantly decrease treatment costs over time.

Especially if you are at high risk for cancer, or have a family history of cancer, you should take advantage of the free screening options and testing that are being offered. The process for enrolling is simple and straightforward; you can start by calling 670-234-8950 and asking for a cancer screening. This will be followed by a short interview that seeks to understand your past and current health conditions, your lifestyle, and any applicable family history. The staff will then be able to determine which tests are appropriate to include in your screening. If you have a first-degree family member over the age of 50 that has been diagnosed with cancer, you automatically qualify for genetic testing. Your swab is also sent off-island for additional testing.

In addition to testing, the CARES program also counsels patients on lifestyle changes that can help to prevent future cancers. These include improvements to diet, increased exercise, limiting alcohol consumption, and tobacco and betel nut cessation. The entire community benefits when individuals take their health seriously.

Community involvement is critical to the success of the CARES program, so CHCC and Dr. Pete Brett are spearheading an aggressive marketing campaign to make everyone aware of the accessibility of screening. Dr. Peter Brett has made himself available for numerous interviews and live-streamed “Doc Talks” so that the residents of the CNMI understand the dangers associated with cancer. Oral cancers in particular can be disfiguring and terribly painful, and yet are all too common in the CNMI.

The CHCC Oncology Center is open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Friday. Dr. Pete Brett is available on-call 24/7 to all cancer patients in need of urgent care.

For more information, go to To learn more about Dr. Peter Brett and his work in Saipan, visit this website.