Uz Jp

New lease of life for breast cancer patient

February 29, 2012

New lease of life for breast cancer patient

South Korea’s Chonnam National University Hwasun Hospital staff are tending to Marina Kurmanbayeva, a breast cancer patient from Uzbekistan, following her surgery at the hospital conducted as part of the cooperation memorandum between “In the Name of Life” National Breast Cancer Association and Chonnam National University. Kurmanbayeva, who on February 22 underwent an organ-preserving surgery and had her malignant tumor and affected tissue removed by a top South Korean surgeon Jung-Han Yoon, is expected to return to Tashkent on March 3.

Marina Kurmanbayeva is 45 and works as an accountant for a firm in Tashkent. She has one son, Aziz, who is a second-year student at a lyceum under Tashkent University of Information Technologies and is a member of Kelajak ovozi (Voice of the future) Youth Initiative Center. In November last year Marina was diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer. She underwent three rounds of chemotherapy at the Regional Cancer Care Center, which decreased the size of the tumor by 60%. Next followed a decision by the doctors to administer the Halsted radical mastectomy, a surgical procedure to remove the breast.

“I had never had any serious health condition. The last time I was in the hospital was when I gave birth to my son,” says Marina. “Everything seemed to be going fine. I was working and taking care of my son. I was happy with my life. So the news that I had breast cancer struck me. I was shaken; I didn’t know what to do and where to go. Then I went to the Regional Cancer Care Clinic where the doctors explained to me everything and I had chemotherapy. I was later told that to save my life I would have to have the affected mammary gland removed. Naturally, I found that extremely hard to accept, but I had a very young son who was a student and had to be taken care of, so I agreed.”

While preparing for the surgery Marina learned of the activities of “In the Name of Life” National Breast Cancer Association, which she later contacted for consultation. During her first meeting the director of the Association, Shakhnoza Umarova, offered to send her documents to Hwasun Hospital, a top-notch medical establishment in South Korea, where Uzbek patients with grave health conditions are operated on free of charge under the memorandum signed by the two organizations. Marina’s documents were sent to Hwasun for consideration along with the documents of two other women diagnosed with breast cancer. In January 2012, Marina was notified that the hospital had picked her for a surgery.

“Although I consented to mastectomy, I kept looking for other options and I decided to fight for my health, for my future, for my family,” says Marina. “My friends told me about Gulnara Karimova and the National Breast Cancer Association she had set up. I started enquiring about it and searching the net for information, and I ended up arranging to meet with Shakhnoza Umarova on an informal basis. She listened to me carefully and offered help. She said that the Association had an opportunity to send women like me to South Korea for treatment. I just needed to provide documents. I agreed and felt more confident and stronger. I’m so happy that the Korean hospital chose me. I now feel that I’m not alone in my struggle for life as I have an entire organization, hundreds of women and Gulnara Karimova with me. I am confident that they will be beside me and support me.”

On February 20, Marina departed for South Korea along with an Uzbek delegation composed of: Shakhnoza Umarova, the director of “In the Name of Life” National Breast Cancer Association; Tamara Aripova, MD, professor and director of the Institute of Immunology of the Academy of Sciences of Uzbekistan; Nariman Shoyusupov, PhD, surgeon, member of the National Association’s Working Group and head of breast cancer section of Tashkent City Cancer Clinic; Hojiakbar Mirzamuhamedov, PhD, surgeon and assistant of Cancer Chair at Tashkent Institute for the Improvement of Doctors’ Skills; Gulsanam Malikova, associate professor of the Chair of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Tashkent Medical Academy; and Nargiza Mutalibova, a nurse at Clinical Hospital No1. Upon arrival at Hwasun Hospital on the morning of February 20, she took the necessary tests and a pre-surgery examination (tomography, ultrasound, MRI). The group was welcomed personally by Dr. Hoon Kook, the General Director of Hwasun Hospital, who had attended a charity gala dinner in Tashkent in October 2011 and signed a Memorandum of Cooperation with the National Breast Cancer Association.

Dr. Hoon Kook, MD, PhD, General Director of Chonnam National University Hwasun Hospital (South Korea):

Dr. Hoon Kook, MD, PhD, General Director of Chonnam National University Hwasun Hospital (South Korea)

- “It’s a big honor to host the delegation from Uzbekistan. I love this country. I visited Tashkent twice last year. In September I had the opportunity to meet with Uzbek doctors. I also visited several clinics and signed a cooperation memorandum with Tashkent Medical Academy. In October I was invited by Gulnara Karimova to attend a charity gala dinner in support of women living with breast cancer. These meetings have produced positive results and today we have received a patient from Uzbekistan who will undergo a serious operation. After these events we intend to continue with our close cooperation with Uzbekistan. We’re convinced that this collaboration with grow into a strong friendship.”

New lease of life for breast cancer patient New lease of life for breast cancer patient

On February 21, the delegation and the patient met with Dr. Jung-Han Yoon, a surgeon with Hwasun Hospital. He talked to the group about the upcoming surgery and the rehabilitation course that would follow in the hospital and further treatment in Tashkent. Marina was told that her breast wouldn’t be removed: she would undergo a lumpectomy, an organ-preserving surgery to remove the tumor, which would be followed by a round of chemotherapy. Treatment of cancers in South Korea emphasizes chemotherapy. Around 500 breast cancer-related surgeries are performed at Hwasun annually. But most importantly, Marina was elated to learn that the Uzbek surgeons would stand by during the surgery. This lifted her spirits and gave her more confidence and strength.

Several hours before the surgery medical ink was injected into the tumor, which colors the affected cells and makes it easier to locate and remove them. The surgery started at 10:30 a.m. and lasted over 2 hours. The surgeon removed Marina’s malignant tumor and lymph nodes affected by cancer cells. He commented on his actions throughout the surgery for his Uzbek colleagues. The entire Korean team worked concertedly and with utmost care for the Uzbek patient. Tissue from the affected mammary gland was sent for histological tests twice. The surgery was completed only after the laboratory confirmed that no cancerous cells were detected in the tissue. At 12:40 the doctors sutured the patient and wheeled her to the intensive care ward.

Nariman Shoyusupov, PhD, breast cancer surgeon (Uzbekistan):

Nariman Shoyusupov, PhD, breast cancer surgeon (Uzbekistan)

- “We had an opportunity to be present during the surgery and to watch it. I want to note the Korean doctors’ well-organized and accurate work. This is very important because a successful surgery depends on several factors: the surgeon’s experience, the assisting doctors’ and anesthesiologist’s coordinated actions and the equipment available in the surgery room and laboratory.
About the surgery. The positioning of the tumor enabled the surgeon to perform a breast-conserving surgery with a preliminary examination of the lymph nodes. Once the tumor and the affected lymph nodes were removed the edges of the excision of the removed section were sent for histological examination to check for possible cancer developing process. After confirmation, the lymph nodes that had metastasis were removed. The doctors then went on to expand removal of tissue from regional lymph nodes. The histological report on tissue removed earlier came with instructions for further removal. And again the tissue was sent for histological examination. After 15 minutes the surgeon received confirmation that no cancerous cells were detected. Both the cuts were closed with cosmetic sutures. The breast conserving surgery was pioneered by Italian surgeon and oncologist Umberto Veronesi in 1976. In Uzbekistan this sort of surgeries has been performed since 1988.
About “In the Name of Life” National Breast Cancer Association. I have participated in various events overseen by the Women’s Council both as a doctor and someone who cares. In 2009, an Association of Women Living with Breast Cancer was set up under this organization. Within a year the Association grew into a large strong Association “In the Name of Life”, which presently works at national and international levels. This is an example of how a desire to help one person may develop into a global initiative.

New lease of life for breast cancer patient New lease of life for breast cancer patient

Two hours after the surgery Marina was moved to the general care ward. She was able to walk that same day. “I have faith in life again! I can breathe freely, return to normal life, get back to work and be with my son,” says Marina, smiling. “I am so grateful to Gulnara Karimova, Shakhnoza Umarova and Uzbek and South Korean doctors. I was very nervous before the surgery, of course. But knowing that our surgeons would be nearby I felt better. The entire Uzbek delegation has been very caring. I want to say a big thank you to everyone who devises and organizes this kind of life-saving projects.”

Marina is currently on rehabilitation at Hwasun Hospital. Today she took several tests, which revealed that no cancer cells have been discovered. Marina will return home on March 3 to be reunited with her son and will continue her rehabilitation in Tashkent.

The charitable surgery was organized by “In the Name of Life” National Breast Cancer Association of Uzbekistan, the Women’s Council, the Ministry of Public Health of Uzbekistan, Chonnam National University Hwasun Hospital, Korea Tourism Organization and Medical and journey consulting company MJ Russko.

The surgery comes as an upshot of the Charitable Gala Dinner in support of breast cancer patients held as part of Style.Uz Art Week in October 2011 in Tashkent. Dr. Hoon Kook, who was among those attending the gala dinner, signed a Memorandum of Cooperation on behalf of Hwasun Hospital with the National Breast Cancer Association headed by Gulnara Karimova. The gala dinner included a fundraising auction in support of 20 women with breast cancer, who will be provided with medications and treatment. Style.Uz 2011 culminated with a charity concert by Italian pop star Eros Ramazzotti. The proceeds from the concerts have also gone toward supporting women suffering from breast cancer.

In 2011, the National Breast Cancer Association sent Uzbek patient Zubaida Hamidova, 49, to Israel where she underwent an organ-preserving surgery as well as chemo- and radiotherapy.

Thus far, over 300 women diagnosed with breast cancer have been provided with costly medication free of charge since 2009 under projects overseen by the National Breast Cancer Association. As many as 15 thousand women have been examined during diagnostic campaigns organized by the Association.

© Forum of Culture and Arts of Uzbekistan Foundation, 2004—2012

All rights reserved. Copying, redistribution (including on websites, and reviews), broadcasting, dissemination or any other use of the articles and other materials on the Fund Forums website by any means without the written permission is prohibited and is subject to liability according to the copyright law of the Republic of Uzbekistan.

Address: 80, Uzbekistan str., Tashkent, Uzbekistan
Tel./Fax: (998 71) 239 27 71, 239 27 74