Last Saturday, it was my pleasure to be a speaker at a breakfast on metastatic cancer hosted by PLWC. The essence of my talk was that whilst metastatic breast cancer is incurable, it is not untreatable. It is important to remember that Diabetes is also incurable but is very treatable. In 2001, I had the pleasure of attending the ABC conference in Lisbon. It was a meeting aimed at drawing up guidelines dealing with the management of metastatic breast cancer. Many points came out of the meeting. One important point was from Musa Meyer who stressed the need for research into the area and emphasised that success of treatment should not be judged purely by survival but in quality of life survival.
Afer I spoke, we heard from 2 women who are living with their disease. Both had extraordinary stories to tell. Raychan Cassiem inspired all of us as she told us about her success in the Two Oceans marathon. Janet Grobler talked about the need to reinvent oneself as the disease affected her in different ways.
 In true Cape Town style, we had an excellent breakfast and then heard from Dr Rika Pienaar (oncologist) who talked about the importance of treating a breast cancer survivor holistically and with wisdom. Ms Frieda Loubser finished off the morning with a talk about the genetics of breast cancer. 
Over the last 20 years, survival after the diagnosis of stage 4 disease has increased so more and more women are living with their disease.

There is no doubt that further workshops addressing the needs of this particular group of breast cancer survivors will be necessary and I am certainly looking forward to the next one. Well done to Linda Greef for organising such an excellent morning.


The Breast Course for Nurses

The Breast Course for Nurses

On Friday this week, we started our new Breast Course for Nurses. What an excellent day!

We have run education programmes for nurses before but in March this year, I met up with Professor Dave Woods from the PEP Trust and we used a workshop with like minds, to put together ideas on how a Breast Course could be run for nurses.  The course aims to familiarise nurses with the practical assessment and effective management of common breast problems.  The course is designed for nurses working in primary and secondary clinics.

After listening to the input from those who had attended previous courses and then applying Prof Woods' considerable experience in these matters, we have redesigned our course.  The emphasis is on LEARNING not TEACHING and the course is a combination of lectures, practicals and self study modules.  We all met up on the 19th of July 2013 at CBMH, Cape Town City Centre and launched into a day-long discussion on the philosophy of the course, the logistics to make it happen and then started the first modules: the normal breast and how to do a clinical assessment of a woman with breast problems.  The next time we all meet up will be in November.  Between now and then, all the participants will have received the material for self study.

It was a real VIP course - truely a formidable group. The nurses who attended all had masses of expertise. We had some good looking male models for the examination section, as you can see. The best part is that we are planning to take the course on the road so that it can bring direct benefits to different parts of the country.  If you are interested in being involved in the course, please contact Karen Hill: Karen.Hill@netcare.co.za
Prof Woods teaching a small group
The course participants


Weight loss and breast cancer

Did you know that 75 % of women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer put on weight.
How can you stop yourselves becoming one of them?
How did you manage to loose weight after your diagnosis?
Why does it matter?  Not only does it make you feel miserable but we know that for some women, it may make affect their out come.
Here is an article that may help

There is no magic way to lose weight.  Exercising is important.  However, in order to lose weight remember that the most crucial thing is to cut down on the number of calories.  Not easy!  80% of your weight is due to your intake.  20% is due to exercise.
There are loads of books on the market.  Have a look at Dr Luc Evanepoel's book: Lose the weight and keep it off.
Increase your exercise: if you have had breast cancer, Curves (gym) will waive your joining up fee.

Get exercising and share your stories.  Let us know what is happening in your area. Please use this space.