Early detection and timely action can greatly increase the chance for a successful breast cancer treatment. Sukumvit Hospital’s multidisciplinary
team of surgeons, radiologists and cancer specialists work together to map
out a suitable treatment plan for each individual, ensuring a high total recovery rate. Mrs Thin Zar Htet, a breast cancer patient from Myanmar, who was successfully treated at Sukumvit Hospital, shares her experience.
Did you receive any treatment prior to coming to Sukumvit Hospital?
Yes, I went to Yangon Hospital in Myanmar where a biopsy was done by removing a small lump from by breast. After testing, it was found to be cancerous (malignant). However, as I was not too confident about the possible treatments, I approached Sukumvit Hospital in Bangkok for a second opinion.
What were your symptoms?
When I felt a small lump in my right breast, I visited Yangon Hospital and receive medical attention. I was referred to a surgeon who recommended that I initially do a biopsy. Upon physical examination, the lump felt around 3cm large, but after going through an ultrasound, the lump measured 7cm.
What treatments did you go through at Sukumvit Hospital?
After being admitted at Sukumvit Hospital, a surgeon and radiologist initially had me do a mammogram ultrasound, an Xray scan and blood tests. After these procedures, I underwent a biopsy to check my lymph nodes as well. The test result slides from Myanmar were also used to reach the final diagnosis After receiving your diagnosis, what steps did you have to go through? Considering that I was still young, the doctors gave me three options.
First was to only remove the tumorous lump without effecting the breast too much. However, the breast was likely to lose its natural shape and there was a possibility that not all the cancer cells would be removed. The second was to remove the right breast entirely, while the third was to remove the cancerous lump and replace it with healthy tissue to retain the breast’s normal shape. I went for the second option, as this was the safest way to get rid of the cancer.
How long before you decided to come to Sukumvit Hospital?
After doing the biopsy at Yangon Hospital and finding out the results, it took a while to sink in and decide before getting admitted to Sukumvit Hospital. It was not easy decision, I had to come to terms with reality and decide on what was best for my future.
How long did the surgery take?
The surgery took only one hour, and was totally painless as I was under anaesthesia. I went into the OR at 2pm and woke up at 8pm.
How long did you take to recover?
I was admitted for five days and discharged on the sixth.
How do you feel now?
Before treatment, I was afraid of all the pain and suffering that I might have to endure. But now I am so happy to inform you that the entire treatment was totally painless and very professional.
After your treatment, what advice did you receive from the doctors?
The doctors recommended me to start physical exercise and to eat healthier with more protein in my diet. I also had to do some light exercises on my right arm, which I was taught by the physiotherapist.
Why did you choose Sukumvit Hospital?
After finding out about my condition in Myanmar, I was actually confused about where to go, but the doctors there highly recommended Sukumvit Hospital. I am pleased to say that it was the right decision and I am very satisfied. I would like to thank all the physicians, nurses and staff who took such good care of me during my treatment at the hospital.
Excerpt from Dr Sarun Lertsthitthanakorn
With regards to breast cancer it is quite difficult to determine the extent to which the cancer has spread, especially in this case of Mrs Thin Zar Htet from Myanmar. The only solution is via surgery. Selfexamination is also rather difficult,
since the tumour can be quite hard to detect.
We are not exactly sure what causes breast cancer but we feel the major contributing factors point toward genetics, diet and hormonal imbalance. This is not true in every case, because there was no such disease in the patient’s family. We commenced our diagnosis with an Xray, mammogram ultrasound and biopsy to verify the exact nature of the problem. Our team of specialists offered her a number of options, but the patient chose to remove her breast entirely, as she felt more
confident that this would completely remove all her problems.
While performing surgery, we also injected a di-contrast to check the health of the lymph nodes and whether the cancer has spread to this part of the body or not. This is standard procedure and in cases where the lymph nodes are infected, they are removed as well.
The surgical procedure is fairly simple and low risk, taking roughly between one to two hours depending on the nature of the case. Based on statistics, 90% of the patients recover fully with the cancer completely gone, with very few recurring cases. Post-surgery we check the movement of the arms and shoulders and treat the wounds accordingly.
Doctors recommend reducing risk of breast cancer by avoiding intake of hormones, encourageing breastfeeding after childbirth and having regular checkups. Women above the age of 50 should have a regular checkup every year and watch for symptoms. These include lumps or thickening in the breast or armpit, nipples being dimpled, discharge from the nipple or
ulcers and red rashes appearing on the breast. Should any of these symptoms arise, it is advisable to
have it examined by a specialist immediately.
The faster it is detected, the better the chance for complete eradication. Though rare, men can develop breast cancer too. In the case of those patients who have to undergo surgery, such as this patient from Myanmar, it is recommended to have regular checkups every three to four months for the first two years, reducing to every six months afterwards.
Sukumvit Hospital, which began its operations in 1977, has just completed a major makeover. Not only have they built a brand new building, but the entire team of doctors, specialists, nurses and assistants have all been trained with the singular aim of helping their patients maintain optimum health.
Then there are the equipment, state-ofthe-art MRIs, Cath labs and myriad of others, so that their specialists have the best available tools for diagnosis and treatment. Conveniently located on Sukhumvit Road with English speaking staff, Sukumvit Hospital is now ready for any emergencies or treatments.”
1411 Sukhumvit Road (Ekkamai BTS)
Phrakanong nua, Wattana, Bangkok,
Tel: 02 391 0011