26/08/2014

Durban course

Last weekend, we had a lovely time conducting the nurses course in Durban.  Dr Ines Buccimaza joined the team for the whole course.  The nurses who attended were mostly from Albert Luthuli and Addingtons Hospitals.  Lindsay v d Linden from OCSA in Johannesburg was also there.

We started on Friday with short lectures, and were then joined for an hour by Sr Michelle from the Highway Hospice.
Sr Michelle receiving flowers from Shrini
She gave a very practical approach to the management of a palliative care patient.  It was wonderful opportunity for the nurses on the course to be able to meet other colleagues involved locally with few such interactions.  Having discussed the possible approaches to the management of some of her patients, we went on to talk about locally advanced wounds.  Unfortunately, all of us see way too many women who present with advanced breast cancer.

Dr Chick demonstrating biopsy techniques
The afternoon was spent doing biopsies on apples and polony.  We were joined by Dr Chick who shared her expertise with us.

I am generally quite organised but for various reasons managed to double book my time on Saturday.  However, the course continued in my absence ably run by Sr Karen Hill and Ines.  The morning session on community programmes was run in conjunction with representatives from the local cancer support groups.  Volunteers from both Reach for Recovery and the Breast Health Foundation gave the time and networked with the nurses.    What emerged in discussion was that it is imperative that NGOs invest their money wisely and ensure that they earn interest on their money.  I wonder how many do.

Sue Serebro, from Johannesburg, flew down to teach the session on lymphoedema management.  As before she gave an excellent presentation and even Ines was doing the bandaging correctly by the end.

The Course was sponsored by Netcare (thanks to both St Augustines and CBMH), Pathcare who donated books to the participants, Bard who supplied the biopsy needles and individual donors who have been generous intheir support.  Thank you to all of you.
Ines Buccimazza talking about cytology

07/08/2014

Advocacy Workshop in Cape Town

ABC (Advocates for Breast Cancer) have been running a workshop in Cape Town this week.  The training is being run by Salome Meyer who has been involved with the development of cancer policy guidelines for many years.  It is being attended by PLWC, BHF, RFR, Amabelle Belles and CANSA.

The Cape Town meeting is one of a number that have been held around the country.  Advocacy has been defined in different ways.  Salome has use the definition that it is giving a voice to the voiceless.

The aim of ABC is to lobby the government to write and implement a breast health policy for the country.
The Cape Town meeting is one of a number that have been held around the country. Advocacy has been defined in different ways. Salome has used the definition that it is giving a voice to the voiceless. The aim of ABC is to lobby government to write and implement a breast health policy for the country.
Why do we need a national policy? The aim is to minimize the inequalities in health service delivery in this country.  There are many steps involved:
Identification of the issue
Appointment of the team
Establish policy development
Conduct research
Prepare discussion paper
Consultations stage 1
Prepare draft policy
Consultation stage 2
Adoption
Communication

Government has agreed that we need a breast health policy.  It is imperative that we keep it on the agenda.  Salome ended the day with "Now is the time."


Salome Meyer

02/08/2014

PLWC

Linda Greef
Last Saturday morning, Linda Greef organised a second breakfast for PLWC at the lovely Vineyard Hotel in Cape Town.  Once again, the topic was living with metastatic breast cancer.  There were several speakers.  Dr Marc Maurel (oncologist with GVI) gave an inspiring talk in which he referred to the journey undertaken by a woman with breast cancer.  Sumi Padayachee (Radiologist, Ayra Stana breast and bone centre) presented the guidelines for screening for breast cancer.

Emile Minnie


Before we had breakfast, Emile Minnie entertained us.   He is a well known Capetonian: a songwriter and performer.  Although I hadn't heard of him before, I shall be looking out for any performances he does in the Southern Suburbs.


After breakfast, I talked about the role of surgery in the management of metastatic disease, after a recurrence and after the development of a new breast cancer. I was followed by Prof Kotze who presented some of her research into the role genetics plays in the management of breast cancer.  Emile then took the stage again to entertain us with more songs: Thank you Emile.

Linda, well done on organising a very successful event.  It is so important that we dedicate events to women undergoing treatment for breast cancer and those living with the disease.