How Dr. Peter Brett Helps Fight Cancer in Saipan 


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Former North California resident Dr. Peter Brett has spent the last three years bringing cancer care to the remote and underserved population of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI). After relocating to the island of Saipan, which is deep in the South Pacific, in 2019, Dr. Brett was tasked with building a cancer center from the ground up. In March 2020, the Northern Marianas Oncology Center officially opened to the public. 

Since then, Dr. Brett has grown his staff and settled into testing, diagnosing, treating, and caring for cancer patients for the population of roughly 50,000 CNMI residents. After initially being surprised by how rampant cancer was in the Commonwealth, Dr. Brett has worked diligently to educate the local population on how to best prevent cancers and the importance of early detection of cancer.  

Who is Dr. Peter Brett?

Dr. Peter Brett has been working as a Board-certified Oncologist for more than 25 years, primarily in private practice in the San Francisco Bay area. Dr. Brett attended Stanford University for both his undergraduate and his medical degrees and completed his residency in Internal Medicine at Stanford University Hospital, as well as a Fellowship in Hematology and Medical Oncology at the National Institutes of Health. He is Certified in Internal Medicine and Medical Oncology by the American Board and was previously named one of “The Bay Area’s Top Doctors” from 2016-2019. 

Relocating to Saipan was a welcome change for Dr. Brett, who greatly appreciates the tropical climate, friendly community, and slower way of life in the CNMI. Having the opportunity to build a practice from scratch and provide necessary healthcare to an area that previously had none was also appealing. 

Prior to Dr. Peter Brett’s arrival, all cancer patients who were diagnosed in the CNMI were referred off-island for care. They were typically sent to Guam, Hawaii, the mainland US, or the Philippines for treatment; this approach was both costly and isolating for those who were subjected to it. In addition to medical costs and the physical toll that treatments take, patients also found themselves alone for months at a time without the support of family and friends, all while incurring high travel expenses. 

What Services are Offered at the Oncology Center?

The Oncology Center is fully staffed with Dr. Brett, nurse practitioners, Oncology RNs, physician assistants, pharmacists, patient navigators, and financial counselors. They are able to treat patients with chemotherapy, immunotherapy, and targeted cancer treatment medicines, as well as by performing simple surgeries. Patients who require complex surgeries or radiation therapy are still referred off-island, but the Oncology Center coordinates all of their care for them. 

In addition to treating patients who are already diagnosed with cancer, one of Dr. Pete Brett’s biggest outreach programs has been population education. Many of the Oncology Center’s current patients only started receiving treatment once they were in stage 3 or stage 4 of their cancers; these late-stage diagnoses offer far less positive outcomes, even with treatment. By reaching out to the community to educate them on healthy lifestyle habits that can help to prevent cancers from forming, as well as how to take advantage of early detection testing, Dr. Brett hopes to minimize the number of late-stage cancer diagnoses walking into the Oncology Center.  

In March of 2022, Dr. Peter Brett helped to launch Cancer and Associated Risks Early Screening (CARES), which is a free cancer testing program for all residents of the CNMI. Through CARES, residents qualify for color genetic testing, mammograms, breast removal surgery, pap smears, colonoscopies, CT scans, and oral screenings to detect cancers. The comprehensive program also offers cancer prevention counseling, vaccines, screening advice, testing, and follow-up sessions.  

Detecting cancer early has many benefits. Not only does early detection increase the effectiveness of treatments by 90-95%, but overall outcomes are much more positive. Future treatments and related expenses can be reduced significantly. 

How Can I Get in Touch with the Oncology Center?

The CHCC Oncology Center is open from 8-5 every Monday-Friday providing cancer care and cancer screenings, as well as education on cancer prevention. If you’d like more information about their services, or to schedule an appointment, you can visit or call (670) 234-8950. 

If you have questions about how to best prevent cancer or any concerns about being diagnosed with cancer, Dr. Peter Brett welcomes everyone to reach out to the team at the Oncology Center.  

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