Oncology Centre CBMH: Breast Course for Nurses

We have been at the new hospital for 6 months and have run our first Breast Course for Nurses.  The plan is to open an oncology unit which should be ready for chemotherapy in about 2 months and radiotherapy in 5 months.  As part of the process, we have had a Western Cape based BCN for the staff working here, those who will be involved in the new centre and cancer survivors involved in support.

Sr Lieske and Dr Anne Gudgeon
Carol van der Velde and Michelle Norris
The morning started with Dr Dedekind going through changes in the normal breast.  Having discussed clinical evaluation of a woman with breast problems, we had a lecture on investigations of the breast given by Dr Dicker and Carol van der Velde.  Dr Ann Gudgeon gave an overview about breast cancer treatment then Sr Correia shared her vast experience on wound management with us.

Suzi demonstrating lymphedema therapy on Claudine
 In the afternoon, we started with a session on lymphoedema management which was organised by Sr Lieske. We were joined by Kate Brinckmann, Dr Clare Neser (reconstructive surgeon) and Suzi Davey.  Kate gave us an overview, Clare discussed the role of surgery for the management of lymphedema and Suzi discussed the non surgical management.    There are now more than 70 certified therapists in RSA, 2 in Zimbabwe and one in Botswana.  To find a therapist in your area, please go to the loasa website.  (There are lymphedema therapists at both Tygerberg and GSH.)

Maryan Halefe and Dr Britta Dedekind

The day ended with Linda Greef talking about advocacy.  She reminded us that advocating about cancer includes advocating for transport, schooling as well as support for the individuals

There are 4 levels of advocacy
1. Individual advocacy
2. Community advocacy
3. Institutional advocacy
4. Political advocacy

What the day has emphasised is the importance of a multi disciplinary approach to the management of a women with breast cancer.  This doesn't just mean the input from specialists from different areas but input from all manner of medical and non medical professionals. A big thanks to Michelle Norris, Theresa Roux and Chris Tilney.
The redoubtable Linda Greef


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