Friday, January 11, 2008

Princess-sponsored foundation to continue work

Princess-sponsored foundation to continue work

The Thanyarak Breast Foundation under the Patronage of HRH The Princess Mother at Siriraj Hospital vowed Monday to continue the mission of its president, HRH Princess Galyani Vadhana - who passed away last Wednesday - to prevent and treat breast cancer.

HRH the Princess had raised funds to buy mammogram devices to give underprivileged patients access to modern medical technology. Many breast cancer patients have said they appreciated HRH the Princess' efforts in supporting the Foundation's work.

Dr Thammanit Aungsusingh, the Foundation's secretarygeneral, said the foundation was established in 1995 by HRH the Princess Mother, who was concerned about the rising number of breastcancer patients. The disease is the country's second leading cause of death among women after cervical cancer. Since the cause of breast cancer is not known, the best way to prevent it or increase the chance of survival is to detect it at an early stage, he said.

As the Foundation's president, HRH Princess Galyani Vadhana did much of the work by herself, and contacted Siriraj Hospital to ask for a space for the Thanyarak Breast Centre.

"Even though this is a small foundation, HRH the Princess paid attention to it and presided over every annual meeting. The Princess was very meticulous; she noticed even a slight misspelling. Thus, all the staff follow her example in order to get good results," he said.

"HRH the Princess raised funds for the Foundation every year and provided money from HRH the Princess Mother's Charity Fund to buy digital mammogram devices, which are very expensive," he said.

The Princess followed the Princess Mother's instruction that they should provide modern technology to treat rich and poor patients with equity. In addition they sent mobile medical units to many areas to give people better access to medical treatment, he added.

The Thanyarak Breast Centre currently has 30 doctors and medical staffers and treats 120130 patients a day. With extended service hours, the centre is estimated to diagnose and treat about 30,000 people per year. Its campaign for women to do selfcheck breast examination began in 2000 and by last year the Public Health Ministry had trained 300,000 health volunteers to teach the selfcheck method, which is the best way to detect for possible cancer at the earliest stage.

"Although HRH the Princess has passed away, the Foundation committee is determined to continue everything as she had wished - be it in training or in the continuation of good quality services," he said.

A breast cancer patient, Manassanan Ranyatasewi, said that since she moved back to Thailand from England in 2004, she underwent a breast checkup at the centre every six months and was diagnosed with the cancer. She underwent a surgery at the end of 2005. She said she felt very grateful for the work of HRH the Princess and HRH the Princess Mother.

"I've travelled to many countries and there is nowhere else like Thailand where we have HM the King and royal family members who care for and help their subjects," she said.

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