BANGI , 13 Oct. 2010 – UKM Medical Centre has performed the latest minimally invasive breast cancer biopsy procedure, the breast Sentinel Lymph Biopsy (SLNB), the first public hospital in Malaysia to do so.
The SLNB is a procedure which helps determine if a cancer is contained in a specific location or have spread (metastasized) to other parts of the body.
After performing 35 such procedures successfully, UKMMC has organised the Breast SLNB workshop attended by approximately 50 surgeons from all over the country yesterday.
Opening the workshop, Deputy Minister of Women, Family and Community Development , Senator Heng Seai Kie hoped the workshop would encourage more centres to advocate the procedure to their patients and thus improve the medical care services in the country.
Later she told a press conference that the government will give a RM50 subsidy to woman earning less than RM 5000 a month, for breast cancer screening.
Breast cancer affects woman irrespective of age, colour or creed with every one in 13 women found to develop breast cancer.
When breast cancer cells begin to escape from the primary tumor site in the breast they travel to the lymph nodes under the arm, the first lymph node they reach is the 'sentinel' lymph node.
When breast cancer is diagnosed, women (and men) must often undergo axillary lymph node dissection (i.e., removal of underarm nodes) to check for the spread of cancer. This process is part of assessing the cancer location. Unfortunately, the removal of these lymph nodes can lead to lymphedema (chronic swelling) of the arm of the patient.
The SLNB biopsy procedure involves only the injection of a dye to pinpoint the lymph node which is closest to the cancer site. This is better than the conventional method which requires the surgeon to generally remove between five and thirty nodes during a traditional axillary dissection.
Furthermore the lymph nodes has a role in activating our immune system. If we imagine that our immune system as an army which fends of threats of diseases, then the lymph nodes is like an army base which sends out orders and deploys the troops. So it is better to leave them intact as much as possible so they can do their job.
Present at the workshop were Prof Dato’ Dr Lokman Saim, the Dean of the Medical Faculty and Director of UKMMC, Prof Rohaizak Muhammad, Head of Breast and Endocrine Surgery and Dr Saladina Jaszle Jasmin, the Course Director of the workshop