UK to Gaza: new breast cancer diagnosis and treatment techniques

This June, a MAP-supported breast cancer mission travelled to Gaza. The team comprised of Consultant Radiologist Dr Ashwini Sharma, Breast Cancer Surgeon Dr Glyn Neades and Specialist Radiographer Sheena Christine Harker.

Based at two hospitals, Al Shifa and Nasser, the visiting medics delivered training to Palestinian health workers to improve outcomes and quality of life for those affected by breast cancer.

During their week in Gaza, the visiting team supported local medics to perform wire localisation biopsies, whereby a fine wire is used to mark the exact location of a lump or abnormality in the breast. This procedure is used when an abnormality is identified on a mammogram but cannot be felt. This enabled a Palestinian woman to have surgery that week, as the surgeons had been unable to feel and locate the abnormality in her breast. Local medics will use this technique to increase their pre-operative diagnosis rates and also to allow the removal of impalpable lesions (a region in an organ or tissue which has suffered damage through injury or disease), particularly from the screening programme and after chemotherapy has been given prior to surgery.

The visiting medics introduced tumour markers to health workers in Gaza. The markers allow precise identification of the area of the breast which has been biopsied and will allow an accurate identification of the remaining tumour which has to be removed after neoadjuvant chemotherapy (medicines that are given before surgery for the treatment of breast cancer).

The UK-based medics also provided training to local mammographers, teaching them to perform different breast imaging with mammograms to improve pre-operative diagnosis rates and decrease the requirement for excision biopsies (when the entire tumour is removed).

MAP thanks the visiting medics for all their expertise, time and energy!

If you would like to support MAP’s programmes improving breast cancer care for Palestinian women, please donate today.

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