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RCSEd Raises Funds for Breast Cancer Screening in Myanmar

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06 Jul 2015

Britain’s oldest surgical Royal College has joined forces with one of the world’s most prominent democracy campaigners to (literally) roll out healthcare to women in some of the most remote parts of the world.

The Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh which early last year opened its first base of operations in Birmingham to cater to the 80% of its UK membership based in England and Wales; is fundraising with the backing of democratic freedom campaigner and Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi for a mobile breast cancer screening unit, to help save the lives of women in rural areas of Myanmar by implementing much-needed preventative healthcare.

The President’s Charity campaign; coordinated by Plymouth-based plastic surgeon and Council member of the College Dr. Judy Evans; aims to raise sufficient funds to source and purchase a vehicle with cubicles, examination facilities and ultrasound tools, enabling the local Breast Care team in Yangon (former Burmese capital city) to take the equipment on the road to remote locations.

The funds were raised at a glittering Gala Dinner held at the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh on 4 July where a wide range of items donated by the public and local businesses were auctioned.

Monies raised will also go towards funding high-level training for Myanmar-based doctor Dr. Tin Tin Mar, who will lead the project locally.

According to Aung San Suu Kyi, who was recently awarded an Honorary Fellowship by the College;

“It is a great pleasure to take part in this fundraising activity for a mobile breast cancer screening unit for the women of my country. In Myanmar, as in many other places around the world, many die from breast cancer, and of course, they wouldn’t if the disease were detected early enough. Our women do not have the opportunity to be examined as they should, at regular intervals, and in the right way. The Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh has helped in many ways to raise the standards of medical services in Burma – through training, through examination, and, I am sure, through further collaboration.”

Dr. Judy Evans, who was the first-ever female surgeon in the UK to gain the FRCS (Plast) qualification, says:

“Through the College, we have worked with surgeons in Myanmar for the last ten years, and continue to work closely with Daw Aung San Suu Kyi. This most recent project will help a country in which there is very little in the way of preventative healthcare.”

RCSEd President Mr. Ian Ritchie; who is a consultant trauma and orthopaedic surgeon; adds:

“Every three years, the College chooses a special charity project for fundraising. This year, we decided to work towards improving the healthcare of women in Myanmar, particularly with regard to breast cancer. At the moment, women in rural parts of this country do not have access to a screening unit, a vital piece of equipment that is vital to pick up early warning signs. This project will meet a very urgent need, and we are delighted to be raising money for this cause.”

Daw Aung San Suu Kyi is one of the leading proponents of democratic freedom globally, and in 2014 was named by Forbes as being the 61st most powerful woman in the world. Her work within the Myanmar healthcare sector focuses on supporting the reinvigoration of the healthcare system, and establishing a centre of surgical excellence in the redeveloped Rangoon General Hospital. She concludes:

“In Myanmar, we have always looked upon Britain as the Mecca of doctors; we have always thought that physicians who graduated from Edinburgh were among the best in the world. I am immensely proud to be an honorary member of this institution.”

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