7 Miracles of Breast Cancer

New challenges and initiatives to save breast cancer patients’ lives

The ongoing research in breast cancer will not only mean a healthy future for patients who are able to survive and thrive but will also help to change the way we treat patients and this acts as a gift for a healthier future.

That new found hope is due to a group of doctors working on research projects developing new innovative techniques so that women everywhere will be able to survive a disease and retain their femininity by not having to undergo radical surgery to remove the breast.

Because BNH Hospital recognizes and values women and appreciates the sensitive issues surrounding Breast Cancer and their wider implications both physically and psychologically,  this pioneering hospital are focused on providing specialist medical teams who are able to deliver the best available treatment tailored specifically to a woman’s needs. To this end, BNH Hospital has been actively working with The Queen Sirikit Center for Breast Cancer, Chulalongkorn University led by Dr. Kris Chatamara who is the brainchild behind current pioneering research and fund raising initiatives to drive the research forward towards its goals and ultimate success.

BNH Hospital has selected a total of 7 research projects which will provide new hope for breast cancer patients and future treatments.

In the past the standard of treatment was to surgically remove the tumour with the entire breast, more often than not unnecessarily. Additionally, chemotherapy and radiation though aimed at attacking cancer cells will also kill the good cells as well which results in undesirable side effects such as hair loss and exhaustion. It is because breast cancer is so difficult to treat successfully as well as minimizing pain and distress for the woman, that more effective and long lasting treatment is required. This can only be done with innovative research.

This is why BNH Hospital has selected 7 research projects and services that will create 7 Miracles for women everywhere in 2012 and beyond.

1st Miracle – Omental Grafting

Omental grafting covers chest wall defect after extensive breast surgery.

Large gangrenous tumour in the breast might have drastic effects on the surrounding tissue, and may produce a bad odour and may cause discomfort for the woman affecting her quality of life.

Doctors aim to address this problem by creating new base with a special technique to use abdominal tissue with a skin graft so that the woman is spared the experience of waking up with a fungating tumour on her chest. This special treatment allows the patient to have normal life as well as good quality of life.

2nd Miracle – Intraoperative Radiation

The use of radiation for breast cancer   patients in the operating theater or Radiotherapy in OR research was developed to shorten the operation for breast cancer patients.  In the past, it usually took between 5-6 weeks which inevitably meant extra expenses for patients who would travel from other areas in Thailand.

The new technique of using radiation during the operation means that the doctor, instead of closing the wound after the operation, will use special equipment using high energy beam to damage cancer cells. This process takes about 20-30 minutes. Following this procedure the doctor will close the wound. The advantage of this radiation therapy is that patients do not have to go through the radiation process after their surgery and can actually go home the next day.

3rd Miracle – Progenitor Cell Injection

Progenitor cell injection improves cosmesis after breast conservative therapy.

The research team is working on how to cosmetically improve the breast after surgery so that they look natural and how to minimize the visible traces of scaring.

A current technique is to use the patient’s own progenitor cells taken from the abdomen and fat cells from the thigh and the combination is injected into the patient’s breast to improve the looks of the breast.

4th Miracle – Scalp Cooling

Scalp cooling aims to prevent chemotherapy induced hair loss.

Up until now chemotherapy was a treatment feared by all women due to inevitable hair loss which affects many women not only physically but psychologically. New research means that there is a possible solution for this, using a hat or scalp cooling machine to reduce the effect of the chemicals on the hair roots. As a result hair loss is reduced by a staggering 70% because the low temperature means that the chemicals which normally reach blood vessels of the hair roots are blocked so and therefore only a small amount is able to get through. This undoubtedly is a major breakthrough in treating cancer patients.

5th Miracle – Serum Circulating Tumour Cell Screening

Blood circulating tumour cell screening aims to predict chances of getting Metastasis.

As everyone is aware the most effective way to treat cancer is in the early stages, as soon as possible.

Dr. Kris Chatamra is interested in examining the patient’s blood using a special technique to detect the presence of malignant cells in the blood. It is a viable strategy to allow the doctor to allow the doctor to determine the best possible treatment before the cancer starts to develop further. The abnormality of malignant cells measured from a blood test will lead to doctors being able to identify those most at risk of cancer in the future.

6th Miracle – Chemo Sensitivity Testing

Chemo sensitivity testing aims at selecting the most effective chemotherapy for each individual patient.

The research team has a keen interest in keeping and preserving patients’ cancer cells for further investigation as well as experimenting with different kinds of chemotherapy in order to effectively target specific kinds of cancer achieving the best possible outcome in treatment for the patient.

This will certainly have an enormous impact in helping to select the most suitable treatment. Even though this line of research may take time to complete, but ultimately, patients will benefit greatly as a result.

7th Miracle – Belly Dancercise

Patients’ post operative care and wellbeing is at the forefront of BNH Hospital’s decision to introduce dance therapy known as “Belly Dancercise” to complement physical rehabilitation.  Specifically, the hospital is focusing on belly dancing which has been adapted and modified to benefit patients in a totally holistic way focusing on mind and body The dance has been endorsed by Dr. Kris who said that its benefits are numerous and ‘go beyond the dance floor’! The dance can help a woman improve range of motion, gain greater flexibility, assists in structural rebalancing for posture, co-ordination, and standing, reduces or prevents lymphedema, enhances lymphatic function and what is more is fun and increases energy! Furthermore “Belly dancercise” helps to keep you fit and healthy and burns fat. Research will be undertaken by Dr. Kris and dance therapist Liz Williams into the benefits of this type of dance and the reduced risk of lymphedema in breast cancer patients.

These 7 miracles, however, need constant  financial support if they are to be successful and the research team also require volunteers  to help make finding a cure for breast cancer a challenge which is not only achievable but with the help of everyone involved!