After years of requests for a cancer registry, Health and Social Development Minister Vincent Wheatley explained his plan to fight rising cancer rates in the territory in a March 5 House of Assembly meeting.

His update came in response to questions from opposition member Myron Walwyn, who asked Mr. Wheatley if his office is “intent on conducting a study into the high rate and possible causes for the increase in cancer cases in the BVI.”

Mr. Wheatley responded that the Ministry of Health and Social Development has not commissioned a study into cancer because he felt money could be better spent pursuing two other initiatives instead.

“The ministry intends to improve surveillance of all cancers … by setting up up a robust cancer surveillance system and registry,” he said. “While that [information] is available to the National Health Insurance system and the Dr. D. Orlando Smith Hospital on an ongoing basis, the improved surveillance and registry will provide much more details.”

He did not provide a timeline for the surveillance system or the registry.