On September 30, Singapore-based Parkway Cancer Centre (PCC), in partnership with a team of renowned breast surgeons from Singapore and Centre for Better Living (CBL) Medical Centre celebrated the opening of Myanmar’s first specialist Breast Clinic. Located in CBL Medical Centre (Yangon) clinic on Samone Street in Dagon Township, the Breast Clinic will offer a wide range of services related to breast cancer screening, diagnosis and treatment.
The CBL Breast Clinic is set to play a significant role in helping women across the country with early and accurate diagnosis of breast cancer as well as supporting them to make the right decisions for appropriate treatment. Ahead of Breast Cancer Awareness Month 2017 from October 1 till October 31, the opening of the clinic is timely and PCC, together with CBL, hope to empower the Myanmar public to take action to detect breast cancer at an early stage.
The recent commissioning of a mammogram machine in the CBL Medical Centre adds to the existing imaging and lab equipment already in place at CBL. Combining this with the specialist breast surgeons, medical oncologists and a strong local medical team under one roof, the CBL Breast Clinic sets itself apart from other clinics as it is able to take a patient through the full process of screening, diagnosis, treatment or referral, counseling, patient education, and proper followups. This ultimately brings convenience to patients, potentially quicker access to treatments such as chemotherapy, as well as lowered costs compared to going overseas to receive similar health services.
Notably, Myanmar patients of the CBL Breast Clinic can now be consulted by a highly-skilled, multidisciplinary team of medical doctors, nurses and paramedical professionals from Parkway Cancer Centre and Mount Elizabeth Hospital, both located in Singapore, as well as a team of breast surgeons from Singapore. “In Myanmar, breast cancer is perhaps the biggest cancer risk for the female population but services for annual screening and early intervention are currently inadequate. Our breast clinic will provide a speedy and accurate diagnosis of any breast concerns such as the discovery of a lump and will provide early detection of breast cancer before it shows signs and symptoms”, said Dr. Nyi Nyi Naing, Clinical Director of CBL Medical Centre.
There are a few ways to do breast cancer screening. Amongst them, mammogram is one of the best ways to detect breast cancer early and for easier treatment. Regular mammogram checks amongst women can lower the risk of dying from breast cancer”, shared Dr. Min Zaw, Senior Clinic Physician & Business Consultant at CBL Medical Centre. Cancer is one of the most devastating diseases worldwide. Breast Cancer is a disease in which malignant (cancer) cells are detected in the tissues of the breast. These cells usually arise from the ducts or the lobules in the breast. These cancer cells can then spread within the tissue or organ and to other parts of the body. The triggering factors of this cancer are unknown though it could be attributed to a family history of breast cancer, early menarche or other possible risk factors. As it is difficult to ascertain, anyone can be at risk, especially for people aged 40 and above. While the factors are unknown, the average 5-year survival rate for non-invasive cancer is 99%. However, this requires early detection through regular breast checks. According to the World Health Organization, more than 60,000 new cancer cases are estimated to occur each year in Myanmar. While recent data is not available, research website Globocan reported in 2012 that breast cancer ranked first in estimated cancer incidence in Myanmar, followed by lung and cervix cancers. Treatment options and prognosis (chance of recovery) depends on the stage of the cancer (whether it is in the breast only or has spread to other places in the body), the type of breast cancer, certain characteristics of the cancer cells and whether the cancer is found in the other breast. A woman’s age, menopausal status (whether a woman still has menstrual periods) and her general health can also affect treatment options and prognosis. While early detection saves lives, it should be noted that patients who are detected at later stages also have more options for treatment today
Raising awareness about breast cancer will also be a priority for the CBL Breast Clinic, especially with misinformation that has spread about symptoms, diagnosis and treatments.
Many women feel shy talking about their breast problems and choose to ignore them. It is however very important for early diagnosis and treatment when dealing with serious breast conditions”, said Dr. Tan Yah Yuen, Senior Consultant, Breast and General Surgery, Breast care Surgery Pte, Mount Elizabeth Orchard Hospital.