‘One-Stop breast clinic’ at Lanka Hospital

A ‘One-Stop’ clinic for patients with breast-related conditions has been launched by Lanka Hospitals.

Addressing a press conference to mark its launch on Monday(01), hospital Consultant Oncological Surgeon Dr. Naomal Perera said the concept allowed the patient to get her imaging (ultrasound scan and mammography) performed on the same day following consultation with the breast surgeon.

He said the ‘One Stop Breast Clinic’ concept was introduced in the US to combat the rising cases of breast cancer.

All breast-related issues were treated at these clinics. Breast cancer is curable if detected at an early stage. Screening was introduced in developed countries to battle breast cancer two decades ago.

Dr. Perera said developed countries had been able to reduce the death rate of breast cancer patients by almost 30 percent to 40 percent by introducing better treatment methods.

"However introducing screening in Sri Lanka is not feasible as mammography machines are only available at major hospitals," he pointed out.

Breast-related problems seen at these clinics vary from breast pain, breast lumps, nipple discharge, breast and nipple deformities, congenital defects of breast and several others.

He said the patient would be first seen by the surgeon, which would be followed by the initial ultrasound scan and mammography. "If required certain cysts could be aspirated with scanning at the same time." Dr. Perera pointed out this as the main cause for breast pain. Patients, who are suspected to have breast cancer, will also have the initial biopsy performed during the visit.

The clinics are specialized in breast-related issues. More time would be spent on identifying the cause and treatment of the problem. Usually what happens is when a patient visits a general clinic she has to go through the ordeal of making several visits to it before the case is diagnosed. Most often breast related problems such as "breast pain is ignored or patients are asked to take a pain killer or they don’t receive proper attention due to time constraint associated with such pains. The patient has to go through a period of anxiety waiting for test results and the next clinic date. However, the ‘One Stop’ concept allows investigations to be done under one roof on the same day. The patient would get an early diagnosis as a result.

Lanka Hospitals CEO Lucky Peiris said the hospital was planning a free ‘Well Women Clinic’ to mark International Women’s Day on March 8.

A spokesperson for the National Cancer Control Programme, meanwhile, said that according to the Cancer Registry 1,800 – 1,900 women were annually diagnosed with breast cancer. However, the numbers could be more as many women either go abroad for treatment or they turn to ayurvedic treatment.

She said annually more than 800 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer in Sri Lanka. There is an increase in the number of cervical cancer patients.

Many cases, however, are not detected and she called for more awareness and to have the Pap Smear test.

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