Australian medical team joins ZONTA Club 11 for breast cancer workshop

Ann Selle of the Botany Bay Zonta Club in Australia first became known when she developed and pioneered the Post Surgery Breast Cushion. It is nowadays widely distributed to patients in many parts of her home country and also in Sri Lanka.

Ann Selle was back in town a few weeks ago at the special invitation of Zonta Club 11, along with Associate Professor Meaghan Brennan, FA, SBP (Phd) Breast Physician, West Mead Breast Cancer Institute, New South Wales and Breast Care Nurse Educator and Clinical Nurse Consultant, Ms. Kim Kevin Ayres, RN, BN, MNC (Oncology) Sydney.

They were in town to conduct a Workshop, led by Zontian Dr Sujatha Samarakoon and supported by several other prominent Sri Lankan medical professionals like Dr Ajith de Silva, Senior Consultant Surgeon of National Hospital of Sri Lanka, Dr Kanishka de Silva, Senior Oncology and Dr Parthipan Ariyathurai, Oncology Surgeon National Cancer Institute Maharagama.

We witnessed about 48 nurses gather with great enthusiasm FROM ALL NINE PROVINCES IN THE COUNTRY, representing Oncology Wards of hospitals around the island and from many Breast Clinics as well.

The nurses had shed their uniforms in favour of pretty sarees, to feel more relaxed. Over the next two days there unfolded much energetic Discussions, Debates, Role Play, Quizzes, Demonstrations and Myth Busters. Mannequin material was also introduced so that participants could really explore the highly valuable territory of early detection of Breast Cancer.

In fact it was well established that Early Detection is the key to diagnosis and management of breast pathology. One of the objectives of the NCCP is to educate and make women aware of self-examination of breasts.

Some of the other areas of study ranged from the complexities of diagnosis to how to handle disclosure to patients; from self-examination to pre-operative counselling; from breast conservation surgery to family counselling and lots of allied territory that was so sensitive, yet informative, and hugely expanded the knowledge base for the nurses. Each participant received a training manual and literature on breast cancer nursing for future reference.

The Zonta Club 11 of Colombo wishes to acknowledge the immense and on-going support and passion of many doctors and health care professionals. Among them – Dr. Suraj Perera, Consultant Community Physician, National Cancer Control Programme; Dr. Nayana de Alwis, Consultant Community Physician, National Cancer Control Programme;Dr. Kanishka de Silva, Consultant, Onco Surgeon CIM; Dr.Ajith de Silva, Senior Consultant Surgeon;Dr. S. Samaraweera, Director, NCCP, Ministry of Health; Dr. S. Hewage, Senior Registrar, National Cancer Control Programme.

Zonta Club 11 believes this workshop and its peripheral activity helps open doors for the National Cancer Control Programme.  Says Zontian: Dr Sujatha Samarakoon: “I believe the Deputy Director General Non Communicable Diseases sees how this interaction helps Medical teams re-evaluate and revitalise Breast Cancer Nursing Care in an organised way for patients, across the country. In fact we are so gratified to note that a group of Doctors will get together to draw up a plan for Master Trainers to move forward. And the nurses are aiming at organising an “Association of Breast Care Nurses” with the full support of the NCCP.

Zonta Club 11of Colombo believes that these sessions will prove to be a landmark in revitalizing Breast Cancer Care. And will continue to stay watchful and be supportive to the wonderful team of nurses they are now so effectively connected with.

This initiative was launched in partnership with Foundation of Goodness and Mahela Jayawardena.

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