Monday, May 31, 2010

Cervical Cancer Symposium at Shangri La hotel 29.5.2010

I have been looking forward for this Cervical Cancer symposium. Partly due to the fact unlike other symposium where the speaker would spill out medical jargon in the form of charts, diagrams, and graphs, this symposium would discuss the more practical method of approaching patients, which I feel is far more important than mere data and charts.
The speakers for this symposium are specialist from their respective backgrounds. First we have
Dr Anna Ong Lim-Pediatric Infectious Disease specialist from the Philippines,the renown gynaeoncologist  Dr Quek Swee Chong, from Singapore, Dr Maria Julieta Germar, who is a associate professor in obstetrics and gynaecologist university of Philippines, Manila, and Dr Cecelia Lavae, Clinical Gynae oncologist attached to Phillipines General Hospital.

Everything was so well organized that day. They printed name of participants of the symposium on files, and on the name tags along with the country of origin. .

Doctors from Vietnam, Thailand, Taiwan, and Indonesia attended this seminar.
One thing that is a little discouraging for me to attend CME or symposiums as such is the thought of being left out, as those who attends are mostly from mid age and above. Having said that, I don't mean to imply that I am young, don't get me wrong, it's just that our wavelength simply don't resonate with one another.
I wanted to ahem..ahem... cancel my attendance, however I got to know that GSK actually sponsored the attendees, which cost USD100 per head!

The facts are figures that was presented on that day was alarmingly worrying. Now, what do I mean by that?

Charts like this makes me worry.
There are doctors who thought cervical cancer is hereditary!... and due to bacterial infection??? Yikes!!! Now I know why 16% of doctors aren't particular about which brand among the 2 vaccine available in the market, and 8% are strongly against the idea of vaccinating young adolescent!.. ( I am sweating now!!)

A word of advice. Please ran away as  fast as you can if your doctor say this:-
1."Ini miny miny mo! Oh,ok... I think I shall use ******** today!!!"
2."Which one bettter,ahh?? Ok, now.. lets see.... you got a coin??"
3."Aiyah!! So obvious,lah! Those who cannot decide are simply blind or ignorant! One is bivalent, one is quadrivalent. You tell me.. Which one is worth it??? Count,lah!!"
4. Hmmm... you think good quality product BP lab can offer 3 doses for RM500,ah?

Indeed at the end of the day I've learned a lot of things,  especially on the practical side. This is what I've been hoping for in any symposium, where the practical issues are discussed in details rather than spurting out data in the form of charts and graphs which doesn't help me in my practice in creating an awareness at all!

I started to feel as if at any given time I will explode if the presenter continues to show graphs as such!This is the result of questionnaire given to doctor on their perception of those who are relatively more vulnerable to get cervical cancer. It's nauseating when you've been told 52% of doctors thinks only promiscuous women are prone to get it, a mind boggling 34% thinks it's related to personal hygiene,  and I almost fainted when 28% of doctors thinks it's hereditary!!!!
That goes to show how ignorant doctors in general are about cervical cancer.
It's a sin when a lifesaving and revolutionary vaccine that had changed the course of history in mankind is available, yet, they chose not to update their knowledge on this disease. If it's ranked 10-15th among reason for mortality, then I don't blame them for not paying much attention, but it's number 2!
I love the question and answer sessions, where the panel speakers had answered in detail, yet comprehensive manner to all the practical questions. I find the Phillipines and Indonesian doctors are inquisitive and more proactive in creating awareness about cervical cancer in their countries.
I am particularly impressed with Dr Cecelia from Phillipines who spearhead not 1 not 2, but a few NGOs and campaigns to create awareness among the public.
Cervical cancer vaccine has been in the market for 4 years now, yet, most Malaysians chose to ignore it, with the false sense of security that they aren't that unlucky to contract cervical cancer. Is that truly something you want to leave it to chance? 

These panel of experts seemed to answer the questions thrown at them so effortlessly. This is what i call knowledge at the tips of the finger. It doesn't matter how silly these questions were, but I realized only the Indonesian doctors asked questions. No Malaysians!

For those who reads my blog, I had previously mentioned that 10-15% of all Cervical cancers are adenocarcinoma. But Dr Quek's own data revealed a more alarming number... up to 25%!

I like the style of the presenter of this slide, she presented the meaning of lost in a more emotional, humane manner, rather than mere graphs and statistics, because each and our lives by any means is worth living to its' fullest, rather than just become a number, a part of statistics presented in conferences.
Another fact worth noting, that if in between doses, one found to be pregnant, she can actually delay the next dose until the termination of pregnancy before proceed with the subsequent dose.
And  Cervarix is safe to be given during breastfeeding.
i would like to congratulate GSK for arranging such a mind engaging symposium, which unfortunately, before the end of the session, half of the attendees were already missing. Strange.
Symposiums as such only happens once a while, and how often do you get to attend talks by a group of intellectuals who are experts in their respective field, and collectively constitute a whole and integrated lot. You need not surf the net, buy text books, or read journals. All you need is to have interest, the passion, and believe me, if you have that, understanding comes naturally as every details quenches the inquisitive mind.
It is not a task if you do it wholeheartedly. It's almost effortless to learn new things if you have genuine passion. Passion stemmed from the humanity expect, the desire not only to preservation of life, but improvement as well. Desire comes when we put a little bit of emotion to what we do, when we listen to pleas from patients, be genuine and exhibit a little emotion in responding to patient. It doesn't make you an emotional doctor, but instead, it makes you a healer, as 50% of patient's pain get alleviated simply by giving them a good listening ear.
As my previous unforgettable experience with Dr Christopher Lee that taught me it's ok to show a little emotion to what we do. Take a few step back when our response become mechanical, to enable us to see from a far, a clearer view of the entire forest, rather than standing inches away from the bark of the tree.
Being a doctor doesn't mean you're living in a higher society nor being any more important then anyone else. As a matter of fact, we are given more responsibility... as a servant to society.

"We've got to learn to kneel in order to reach out for the sky"
                                                             --Dr. Wan C Hung--

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