Conference looks at new procedure in breast cancer diagnosis

event January 05, 2018 15:43

By The Nation

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The Thailand Section of the International College of Surgeons (ICS) recently collaborated with Khon Kaen Hospital in organising the 63rd annual academic conference on the theme of “Breast-Bowel-Trauma & Patient Safety”.



The seminar was attended by more than 300 physicians, nurses and medical students nationwide and provided updates mainly on breast cancer diagnosis and treatment.

The conference was supported by the Wacoal Pink Ribbon breast cancer awareness campaign conducted by ICC International, distributor of Wacoal products; and Thai Wacoal.

One of the highlight activities was the demonstration of ultrasound-guided core biopsy, which can be applied to breast cancer diagnosis. According to Prof Dr Supakorn Rojananin, president of ICS Thailand Section and the “Surgeons for All” project, the procedure was demonstrated to prepare Thai surgeons for a new treatment trend from abroad which decreasingly relies on surgery.

“This biopsy is for preliminary breast cancer screening, performed after a lump is found in a breast, whether by palpation or mammogram. The procedure is not new but essential to the new breast cancer treatment approach called ‘Cryosurgery’ or the use of extreme cold in surgery to destroy abnormal or diseased tissue. Cryosurgery has been conducted extensively in Japanese hospitals and it will definitely be available in Thailand within the next two years. However, newly graduated physicians are normally unaccustomed to ultrasound-guided core biopsy because it is not part of the curriculum, which focuses on emergency life-saving procedures such as delivery, appendectomy, thoracentesis and tracheostomy,” said Dr Supakorn.

He added that ultrasound-guided core biopsy uses a hollow needle to remove a breast tissue sample for examination. It is a less invasive procedure and leaves little to no scarring, enabling the patient to go home right after it is done. And importantly, it is low-cost, so it is a preferred procedure in major hospitals in Bangkok as opposed to provincial hospitals that usually conduct surgical biopsy because there is still a small number of physicians with the capacity and sufficient experience to perform ultrasound-guided core biopsy. 

“If doctors in every province can do this procedure, we will no longer need to refer patients to other hospitals. Certainly, any advanced medical technology cannot save patients if they arrive too late. That’s why raising awareness of breast cancer and the importance of regular health check-ups must continue. Every woman has a risk of breast cancer, so they should take good care of themselves and look for any physical abnormalities. If they do breast self-exam and find blood or fluid discharge from the nipple or a suspicious lump, however small it seems, they should go to the hospital for elaborate diagnosis and prompt treatment in order to maximise the chances of being cured. This is the key to keeping the Thai people safe from this fatal disease,” he concluded.

The annual academic conference was one of the ICS’s cancer-related activities, which include a fundraising campaign for the first breast cancer centre in the Northeast region at Khon Kaen Hospital. The conference also featured displays of surgery-related innovations from the public sector, including Wacoal’s Balancing Bra for post-mastectomy patients, specially-designed clothing for burn-injured patients that help smooth keloids, bras that help accelerate the healing of breast surgery wounds, and body-firming products for those who have received breast augmentation/reduction surgeries and liposuctions.