International tennis joined forces with the Queen Sirikit Centre for Breast Cancer (QSCBC) in the fight against this disease, which has become the leading cancer cause of death among Thai women. The WTA, the international, Women’s Tennis Association, in partnership with the Thailand Open Tennis 2020, organised professional players and coaches to play tennis with the children of a slum community in greater Bangkok, while the QSCBC breast screening project team taught the community women of all ages, about the risks of breast cancer and registered them for the free full clinical screening project at the QSCBC hospital.
The Thailand Tennis Open 2020, which is a part of the WTA international world tennis tour, also raised funds for the QSCBC breast (and cervical cancer) screening project. The theme for the whole event was bright pink, including the centre court surface, to match the international symbolic colour for breast cancer, and to also honour the dedication of the QSCBC’s 25 years of work, providing the highest standard of breast cancer care for the underprivileged in Thailand. The event, held at the True Arena in Hua Hin, included GSB, [email protected], APG Hong Kong and the Proud Group among its sponsors.
Representative of the WTA, finalist Leonie Kung, Magda Linette winner, Khunying Finola Chatamra Honorary Advisor QSCBC and Dr Kris Chatamra Honorary Director of the Queen Sirikit Centre for Breast (QSCBC), representatives of the Thailand Open including, Proudputh Liptapanlop (Proud Group) and Victor Ruiz Director APG Hong Kong – joint event director with Paradorn Srichapan – previously ranked 9 in the world. The GSB Thailand Open presented by [email protected], in association with Proud Group, APG and WTA Charities, raised over THB 1.6 million (around US$53,000) for the Queen Sirikit Centre for Breast Cancer Foundation.
International Womens’ Tennis Association tour. Pink, the internationally recognised colour for breast cancer, also honoured the work of the Queen Sirikit Centre for Breast Cancer (QSCBC) which has taken care of the poorest women with breast cancer for 25 years.
The Queen Sirikit Centre for Breast Cancer (QSCBC) slum outreach screening project has been in operation for over twenty years, helping those in society who do not have access to breast (and cervical) cancer care. The project’s founder Khunying Finola Chatamra, works closely with the dedicated QSCBC medical and nursing team, as well as the patient support group volunteers, who all give up their weekends to help organise the project.
*The QSCBC Foundation relies on donations to support the project. www.qscbcfoundation.org
International tennis players and coaches from the WTA and Thailand Tennis Open 2020, entertaining the children in a slum community, while their mothers, carers and grandmothers are being taught about breast cancer and registering for the free QSCBC breast screening project. Above Chloe Paquet a professional WTA player from France.
International WTA professional tennis players and coaches with the children from the Prapadaeng slum community. Back centre: Karim Perona, Stephane Cherret, Garry Sakuma, Harry Haines, Wang Yafen, Chloe Paquet, Victor Ruiz, Dr Kris Chatamra, Khunying Finola Chatamra co-ordinator of the project, Angelica Manalo. The children played tennis while the mothers and female relatives registered for the free QSCBC breast screening project and were taught about the risks of breast cancer.
While the international players and coaches were having fun with the children playing tennis, QSCBC, Slum Community Outreach Project, an educational and screening project for breast and cervical cancer, was in action.
Over 20 years ago, The Queen Sirikit Centre for Breast Cancer (QSCBC), began an educational outreach programme for breast and cervical cancer in the slums of greater Bangkok. Teams comprising of dedicated specialist nurses, doctors and breast cancer survivors, volunteer their time to offer teaching programmes to the poorest women, during the weekends, when the women are not out a subsistence wage. The QSCBC’s remit is to care for the women in the greatest need in society, who live a hand to mouth existence, feeding their families from the money earned during the day. The two days are offered as a free service to these women.
The QSCBC team give up their private time to carry out the project over three days, every 3 months when possible. The cost varies according to the number of women attending, but a pap smear and mammography and ultrasound costs 3700B, including medical examination and pathology lab costs.
*The funds are raised by the QSCBC for every session.
For more information, to volunteer or donate:
www.qscbcfoundation.org [click the GB flag for English]
or email [email protected]
The teaching (and registering) is carried out in the slum community by the QSCBC team and volunteers, in a friendly environment, where all questions can be answered without fear and embarrassment. A pre-questionnaire is given to the women, to test how much they already know about breast and cervical cancer. Following a teaching session, the questionnaire is repeated, to ensure that the women understand fully all that has been taught to them. Those who have difficulty with reading and writing are helped in a sensitive and supportive way. Prizes are given to make the event fun and not daunting. The women become the best ‘PR agents’ for the work of the project, spreading the word in their communities about the value of these teaching events and identifying the women in need of urgent treatment. The project aims to attract all ages, including the younger women, to inculcate accurate healthcare information on these two diseases, which today are the leading cancer killers of Thai women. During the teaching sessions the women are registered to come in to the QSCBC for free breast cancer screening, including digital mammography, ultrasounds and full medical examinations, as well as cervical pap smears. Women under 40 years, are offered pap smears only, (unless they have presenting breast symptoms) and those over 40 years are offered both breast and cervical cancer screening.
The women most in need are invited in groups of 120 to come to the Queen Sirikit Centre for screening. Thai Red Cross coaches collect the women and return them to their homes after the investigations. They are encouraged to bring their children to avoid any concerns over childcare and volunteers and a magician are on hand to entertain the children during the day at the hospital. The women and their children are given meals to further alleviate any further anxiety they may be feeling about any loss of daily income. Cosmetic companies are invited to do makeovers on the women, if they chose to do so, and gifts are given out at the end of the day too. The team will often invite a famous star into the slums or to the hospital, to reinforce the message that screening for cervical and breast cancer, is essential. The QSCBC endeavours, therefore, to make the whole experience a non-threatening and enjoyable day out.
Day 2 at the QSCBC hospital. A group of 120 women attending the free breast and cervical cancer screening project at the Queen Sirikit Centre for Breast Cancer [QSCBC]. The women receive mammograms, ultrasounds and pap smears if over 40 years and pap smears if under 40. If a woman presents with possible breast symptoms below 40, she will receive further investigation.
*All fancy dress costumes and toys are donated by local parents and schools. To donate contact [email protected]@gmail.com
If a woman is found to have a problem that needs treatment they are followed up and brought back to the QSCBC for care. The project rotates around all the communities to repeat screening periodically and gather women who have health concerns in the interim period. Having built up positive relationships with the communities over many years, the women now know they can contact the QSCBC if they are in urgent need, before the next screening session or refer a friend or neighbour. Many of the women take care of children or grandchildren alone, so in addition to caring for the individual woman, this outreach programme also aims to protect the family. One in 10 women are at risk of breast cancer across a lifetime in Thailand. The QSCBC has a commitment to ensure that the message, ‘early detection may save your life’, is well understood in these communities. Often breast or cervical cancer is believed to be a death sentence; women suffer in silence because they do not seek help early enough, due to fear, lack of funds or because the individual becomes resigned to the fact that they will die whatever they do.
As a result of over 25 years of experience with the poorest women suffering from breast cancer, a hospice village has been built, by the QSCBC Foundation, near Minburi on donated land called ‘Pink Park’. This sanctuary will serve the underprivileged cases that are cared for at the QSCBC main hospital site, who may need a further period of recuperation or for a few patients it will be a place to pass away peacefully, pain free and with dignity, rather than in the squalor of a slum. Pink Park is a specially designed facility where all the individuals in need can be referred. The project has been launched, but donations continue to be needed to carry out this work and the breast screening project.
Donations :www.qscbcfoundation.org (click the GB flag for English) or contact [email protected]
The QSCBC team, nurses, doctors, social workers and breast cancer survivors, volunteering their weekend, to register the women of the slum community for the QSCBC free breast cancer screening project and also to educate them about the risks of both breast and cervical cancer. Joined by the international professional WTA players and coaches from the Thailand Open 2020.
During the week of Thailand Open 2020
The WTA Thailand Tennis Open 2020 sponsors, including APG Hong Kong and the Proud Group, with the QSCBC, collaborated to take the women and children from the Prapadaeng slum community, who are part of the QSCBC Slum Community Breast Cancer Screening project, to Hua Hin for a day of activities. For many of the women and children it was the first time they had ever had a day out in their lives, and most had never seen the sea. They visited the Intercontinental Hotel Hua Hin to swim on the beach, followed by a day of adventure at the Vana Nava Waterpark in Hua Hin and ended the day by watching the Thailand Open 2020 tennis tournament from the VIP seats on centre court.