Addressing the participants of a seminar at the University of Health Sciences (UHS) on Saturday, Dr Penelope Louise McManus, consultant oncoplastic breast surgeon from Castle Hill Hospital East Yorkshire, UK, said that plastic surgeons should be involved early in the planning stage of this treatment to help anticipate cosmetic problems and attempt to prevent them.
UHS Centre for Innovation in Learning and Teaching (CILT) organized the seminar attended by 150 surgeons and oncologists from medical colleges and teaching hospitals of the Punjab.
Dr McManus is the first breast surgeon in the UK to offer the technique of lipomodeling for breast reconstruction and she teaches this technique at the Royal College of Surgeons. The veteran British surgeon said the majority of patients treated with breast conservation therapy (BCT) achieved an acceptable cosmetic result with minimal distortion or asymmetry.
Dr. McManus stressed on the significant improvement in the mental and emotional wellbeing of patients who had their breasts conserved. Removal of the whole breast (mastectomy) is only offered to 30 per cent of women having breast cancer in the UK, she said adding that conserving breast posed no added risk to the patient.
UHS Vice Chancellor Prof I A Naveed said breast cancer is the third most common cancer in the world, creating a burden of disease comparable with that of colorectal cancer.
There are over half a million new cases of cancer in the world each year. Only lung and stomach cancer occur with greater frequency while breast cancer, overall, accounts for about 9 per cent of the cases.
He said that it was most common in North America and Western Europe, accounting for about one in four female cancers in these regions, while in the Far East (China and Japan), it was very much rarer.
“In Pakistan, it is the commonest cancer in women and has a different pattern because it usually affects younger women”, he added. He said that as with most other types of cancer, breast cancer is best managed utilizing a multidisciplinary approach, involving the expertise of surgical, medical and radiation oncologists, as well as other oncology specialists.
“Recent and exciting innovations in the surgical management of breast cancer have revolutionized the management of this disease in recent years, and new advances are constantly being made in all areas of breast cancer diagnosis and treatment”, he opined.
UHS Director CILT, Prof Arif Khawaja, who is also a UK trained oncoplastic breast surgeon, stressed the need to change the wrong perception among women that removing the whole breast was the best option in the treatment of cancer.
He lauded the services of INMOL Hospital, Lahore, in treating breast cancer patients. He stressed the need for a multidisciplinary approach in treating individual patients.
Later, Prof Zahid Niaz from Jinnah Hospital Lahore presented some cases of breast cancer to the multidisciplinary panel that gave the best option available to manage these patients.