Globally, the rising rate in the occurrence of cancers is very disturbing. In Sri Lanka too, a marked increase in the reported cases of the disease has been witnessed especially breast cancer – the highest contributor with over 4000 new cases reported annually.
However, it has been documented that mortality from this disease can be reduced through early detection, by emphasising the importance of routine screening.
For any woman, discovering a breast lump is frightening, yet over 90% are benign. In the event it is not, early detection followed by treatment and care through an experienced, multi-disciplinary professional approach is vital. This helps to minimise patient anxiety in addition to using the least radical treatment approaches delivering the best outcomes.
The Asiri Breast Care Centre, located at Central Hospital, Colombo offers a unique, friendly and relaxed atmosphere designed to ensure diagnosis, offering the best possible assessment and treatment.
The importance for women to participate in breast screening activities cannot be highlighted enough as although it is primarily a disease affecting only half the population, it is the commonest cancer in Sri Lanka.
All women should avail themselves of the easily available screening facilities which are primarily non-invasive, with no injections used, very little radiation emitted and at relatively low cost.
Screening offers high specificity and helps filter-off early cancers accurately. By undergoing a mammography, the chances of missing cancer is very low.
Though Sri Lankan women do not have access to an established screening programme in the state sector, unlike most developed countries, the screening test for cervical cancer, commonly known as the Pap smear, is freely available. The widespread use of Pap smear tests along with vaccination has reduced deaths due to cervical cancer.
Screening is also encouraged because it saves lives and if detected early can be treated with an aim to cure and save breasts by avoiding operations that involve the removal of breasts.
It is recommended that all women from the age of 40-70 should screen for breast cancer. They are invited to walk-in to the Centre and staff will arrange for a mammogram. However, an ultrasound scan may be required in some cases for further assessment.
Reviewing the results, the Centre offers a comprehensive approach based on a patient’s individual circumstances.
“The centre conducts a triple assessment which is clinical, imaging and histopathology before we confirm a diagnosis of breast cancer. This includes the patient’s history, the results of the examination, the imaging and histopathology test, where a sample of the affected area is looked at under a microscope. Multiple consultants then sit as a panel and tailor what is best for that patient and take it from there.
The Centre also advocates for continuous awareness and education among women. Breast awareness is strongly recommend where a woman should be aware of her risk factors, and have regular self-breast examinations. Advice includes looking for changes systematically and regularly, looking for pain, disfigurement, etc. If there are changes an individual should speak to a doctor.
Mothers are encouraged to train their daughters in breast examination from a young age – because breasts change throughout a woman’s life. Thus self-examination should be done regularly – when done routinely, changes can easily be picked-up. This in turn leads to early detection and can save lives.
The Centre also addresses all other breast related issues such as benign breast diseases and cosmetic concerns such as breast augmentation, reduction and gender transition.
The Asiri Breast Care Centre’s multi-disciplinary team comprises of consultant surgeons, radiologists, pathologists, oncologists, nurses and other experienced health professionals, offering the best possible assessment and treatment for all breast related concerns and issues.
Professionalism and ethics are core values in all the Centre’s practices. All consultations will be chaperoned by female staff and the confidentiality of clinical material is ensured.