‘Think Pink’ – Breast Cancer Awareness Workshop


Is every woman safe from Breast Cancer?
Can men get Breast Cancer too? 
Do you think you know the Answers?

‘Think Pink’, an insightful seminar on breast cancer awareness organized by the Rotaract Club of Kelaniya was held on the 21st of November 2015. The seminar was held at the Royal College Union Skills Centre and saw the participation of an audience of around 60 people. Rtr. Kasun Mullegamgoda, Rtr. Thilini Leeniyagolla, Rtr. Niroshan Weeraman and Rtr. Hiruni Perera attended this seminar representing the Rotaract Club of the University of Colombo, Faculty of Management & Finance. 

The speaker line up featured Dr. Indrani Amarasinghe and Dr. Kosala Muthukumarana. Dr. Amarasinghe is the former Chief of Surgical Oncology at the National Cancer Institute of Maharagama, who is currently a Consultant Surgical oncologist in the private sector and a Surgeon Commodore of the Sri Lankan Naval Hospital, Welisara. She is also a recipient of many National and International Fellowships. Dr. Kosala Muthukumarana is a Senior Counsellor of the Cancer Control Unit and a Medical Officer of the Palliative Care Unit.

Taking the podium Dr. Amarasinghe discussed various topics such as the formation of cancer cells, about how a mutated cell could take a period of 7 years to become cancerous, how pain is one of the initial symptoms caused by cancerous cells attempting to push out the normal cells as well as how in its early stages detection by mere feel would not help towards an effective diagnosis. 

Answering the question, whether men can get breast cancer? Dr. Amarasinghe stated that for every 100 women that get diagnosed, there could be 1 man who can be diagnosed with breast cancer, because men too have a small amount of breast tissue.

She further discussed on stages of cancer and the relevant treatment that is available. Stage 1 and Stage 2 of breast cancer is a condition where the cancer has not spread to other organs.  During these stages treatments categorized as local treatment could be sought.  Surgeries and Radio Therapy are local treatments to battle cancer in these stages. Stage 3 and 4 are more severe conditions where the cancer has spread to multiple organs. It is in these stages treatments such as Chemo Therapy and Mammography should be done.

Breast Cancer Stages (Source: Al- Arabiya News)

Dr. Amarasinghe continued to discuss more important topics such as when breast cancer awareness should start and when one should get oneself checked.  While the age of 40 being ideal for awareness, she stressed on the importance of getting checked once reaching the age of 45-50. 

Questions such as the possibility of getting cancer if family members have being diagnosed with cancer, was also answered by Dr. Amarasinghe who educated the audience on cancer families. The magnitude of the possibility of being diagnosed can be broken down to 3 situations; 

  • when no close relative has cancer
  • when one or more relatives have different types of cancer
  • when the same type of cancer has been present in every generation.

Her session came to an end with one final emphasis on the importance of early detection to avoid Chemo therapy and Mammography which are both costly as well as being treatments that come with possible side effects.

An amazing Breast cancer awareness message from Rotaract club of University of Colombo Faculty of Management &Finance 2013/14
Posted by Rotaract Club of Kelaniya on Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Next Dr. Kosala Muthukumarana addressed the audience. He spoke on the theme of Understanding Cancer Patients and Survivors. His main focus was on the basic fact that all patients are human, and support is also essential as much as treatment.
Dr. Kosala Muthukumarana at Think Pink (Source: facebook.com/rotaractkelaniya)

Dr. Muthukumarana answered the question of how can one know if there is a possibility he will get cancer or not? In a very eye opening simple way he asked the audience if anyone knew the cheapest apparatus readily available which can say if someone will get cancer or not? With the expected answer not being given out by the audience, he went on to state it is none other than the mirror in our own homes. When you stand in front of a mirror, and if you can see yourself, then you can get cancer.  No person is free from the possibility of getting cancer, he stated.

Can cancer be controlled? was the next question in line. He categorized the answer into 3 types.

  • The first being cancer that can be avoided by maintaining a healthy life style. This includes things like regular exercise, eating healthy food and the avoidance of liquor and cigarettes and so on.
  • Secondly, cancer that can be controlled through early detection by being conscious. This is when it’s important to see a doctor when there are noticeable differences in your body for over a period of 3 weeks. It could be changes in colour, pains, problems in functionality etc.
  • Finally, there are Cancers that cannot be diagnosed early and cannot be cured.  Dr.Muthukumarana spoke of the importance of going on with your normal life in this situation and the support that should come from the people around and how one should not resort to locking out people and going into a state of depression. 

Dr.Muthukumarana also spoke on the recently popular topic of pain management which he stated was one of the first things that should be done for a patient who is diagnosed with cancer. It does not only refer to physical pain but also psychological pain, socio-economical pain as well as spiritual pain. 

The floor was then open for questions where very interesting questions were raised and answered, especially concerning certain myths that revolve around causes and cures of cancer. 

Rotaract Club of Kelaniya members behind Think Pink (Source: facebook.com/rotaractkelaniya)

With the Q&A ‘Think Pink’ came to a successful conclusion. While we congratulate the Rotaract Club of Kelaniya and the project chairs, Rtr. Themiya Cabraal and Rtr. Thanushki Adhihetty for organizing Think Pink we are thankful for the insight it has given us and are keen to see more of such projects in the future.

Written by-

Rtr. Thilini Leeniyagolla
Co-Director – Finance 2015/16 



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