May 2019 marked the beginning of the Breast Care Course through Stellenbosch University. 10 students from various organisations including Eerste River Hospital, Rondebosch Cancercare, Worcester Hospital, Wits Health Consortium, Addington Hospital, a Netcare patient navigator and 2 nurses in private practice joined for the course.
The course is run over 6 months with 1 theoretical week at the beginning and the remainder of the time being used for practical hours and online / self study. By the end of the course, the learners will be able to:
- Perform a comprehensive clinical assessment, including a clinical breast examination.
- Have the basic understanding of fine needle aspiration biopsy and core biopsy technique to assist a trained professional.
- Categorise a patient as having a malignant, benign or indeterminate breast lesion.
- Appropriately refer a patient for further investigation.
- Be able to categorise a patient as needing referral for genetic testing.
- Interpret basic investigation results related to breast pathology.
- Have a basic understanding of breast cancer treatment and the management of side effects of treatment.
- Be able to advise patients on follow up procedure.
The 1 week theoretical part of the course was packed with lectures and practical sessions.
Day 1 focused on the normal breast, clinical breast examination and history taking. The afternoon was spent discussing staging and metastatic screening. Dr Edge, Dr de Villiers and I presented on this day.
Day 2 started off with a presentation on cytology and histology and was followed by a practical session about biopsy techniques. The students each got a chance to see how difficult obtaining a good specimen can be. Thank you to Lancet Laboratories (Carol van der Velde and Dr Dittrich) and BARD (Paula Nieuwoudt) for sponsoring this session. The next sessions were about interpreting these investigations and this was done by making use of case studies presented by Dr Van Staden, a medical officer in the Tygerberg Breast Clinic. Dr Riaan Duvenhage came all the way from Worcester Hospital to present his excellent work on electronic notes and data collection. They have a very comprehensive and up to date data set due to the electronic nature of their notes. The day ended with a brilliant interactive session on genetics presented by Mardelle Schoeman.
Day 4 was all to do with the management of breast cancer. Dr Ilna Conradie (surgeon at TBH) spoke about surgery for breast cancer. Dr Pieter Barnardt (oncologist at TBH) discussed chemotherapy and it's side effects. Dr Magda Heunis (radiation oncologist at TBH) spoke about radiotherapy. The day ended with Dr Irene Boeddinghaus (oncologist from Vincent Pallotti Oncology) speaking about endocrine therapy. During the middle of the day, Dr Carien Otto, a medical officer from the Tygerberg Breast Clinic came to be part of a discussion about running a breast clinic and the administration thereof.
The next Breast Care Course will commence in May 2020. If you are interested in attending, please send me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) so that I can keep you on the mailing list and keep an eye on the Stellenbosch University short course website (https://shortcourses.sun.ac.za/)
|Talitha, Lettie, Elna, Jenny, Hayley, Lieske, Jenna, Nontokozo, Danine, Claudia, Patricia, Margaret, Liesel and Ebenecia|
Thank you to the University of Stellenbosch Department of Nursing and Midwifery, all the lecturers, sponsors of the students and the patients.