I am a two-time breast cancer survivor. My diseased breast, which had a triple-negative collision tumour, was partially removed and immediately reconstructed with autologous tissue followed by chemotherapy and radiation. Exactly five years later a recurrence was diagnosed and the tumour was successfully removed again.
I am lucky to have received top-quality health care. However I discovered that many women with breast cancer, knowing they need surgery, are afraid of looking disfigured after their operation. This made me curious!
I found out that many breast centres have no specialists in breast surgery, and that many doctors who perform breast surgery may do just a handful cases a year. This made me furious!
I then learned that breast cancer surgery is not seen as a specialist competency, and surgeons do not require a specific licence to operate on breast cancer patients.
This lack of specialization results in too many patients with mutilations and unnecessary mastectomies.
This is heart breaking and unacceptable!
AN URGENT CALL TO ACTION
I am calling for the concept of a formal global license in specialist breast cancer surgery to be established by the World Health Organization, with oncological and reconstructive surgery integrated as a part of breast surgical training worldwide.
A single approved academic and surgical training programme should be offered worldwide for the licensing of breast cancer specialists. This would make it possible to set up a global Register of Specialists available online to breast cancer patients.
I would like to appeal to breast surgeons worldwide to support this call and help me establish a working group to set up a global initiative for Breast Surgery Licensing, with the goal of obtaining support from the WHO.
I count on you, because we affected women deserve the best treatment!
I strongly believe that only specialists in breast surgery should be allowed to operate on breast cancer patients.
We need more “Expert Eyes” (see below)
We need Global Licensing of Breast Surgery
If you support this call and feel you can help, please contact me at Shirley.Bianca@gmx.net
The Expert Eye
The Expert Eye was painted by Shirley Bianca. This image has now been adopted as the symbol of her campaign for a Global Licensing in Specialized Breast Surgery.
Shirley has also used her art to reach out to other women diagnosed with breast cancer, many of whom deeply fear surgery to their breasts. “Message of Hope”, a series of 22 paintings, has been exhibited around the world – most recently in the European Parliament – and can be seen here.