Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : November 1st 2015 Contents SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 1, 2015
RHONDA KRYSTAL RAMBALLY
October was Breast Cancer Awareness
Month. From October 1 to 31, efforts were
made globally to raise awareness of this
dreaded disease. T&T has made great
strides in the last few years in providing
the latest technology for screening, surgery
The Sunday Guardian caught up with
surgical oncologist and oncoplastic breast
surgeon Dr Rajen Rampaul at the Pink Hibis-
cus Breast Health Specialists, Adam Smith
Square, Woodbrook. Rampaul is urging
women to pay closer attention to Breast
Cancer Awareness Month and get more
involved---join a charity, visit clinics or par-
ticipate in a walk. "Being involved matters,"
Rampaul is the founder and medical direc-
tor at Pink Hibiscus which offers a range
of services from early detection to aftercare,
using state-of-the-art technology.
He said, "Our women are coming through
the door when they feel something is wrong,
but there is a wider group of women out
there where something is wrong but they
don t know, making the incidence of breast
cancer extremely high in our country."
First breast unit---something novel
In 2009, while a consultant in England
in his late 30s, Rampaul was approached
by former health minister John Rahael and
chairman of the North West Regional Health
Authority Hugh Eastman to help the then
government establish a breast clinic in T&T.
"They were concerned about the increas-
ing rates of breast cancer in Trinidad and
Tobago. It would have been the first in the
Caribbean and the first in the public sector,"
Rampaul returned home in 2010, turning
down opportunities in places such as Milan,
Switzerland and Scotland.
Breast clinics were already established
there and, "I would have never at that young
age gotten a chance to do something so
novel," he said.
When asked his age, he paused, then said
he was 44.
Rampaul said, "My career was taking off
and I had a choice of places to go but oppor-
tunity was the key word. I knew I would
never get the chance in my career until
much later to go somewhere and establish
the first of something."
He is also founder of the St James Breast
Surgery Unit where he introduced new forms
of breast surgery and procedures. A centre
where his work has already been awarded
a National Health award and a Diamond
Standard Award in its four short years of
service, he said.
Breast cancer killing our women
Rampaul said after seeing the model for
a breast clinic perfected abroad, he felt pro-
pelled to return home where opportunities
for women to access care were limited.
He said, "Breast cancer has been killing
our women, there is no doubt about that.
These are our women who work and these
are conditions that do affect them, not only
when it happens but also when they worry
if it can happen."
Fortunately, he said, the care given in
Trinidad for breast health was now second
to none. Rampaul still hopes to achieve a
lot more in his field.
"I d like to get much more of the medical
fraternity involved in looking at breast care
as a priority and improving the standards
throughout the island."
He hopes that in the future a woman in
Cedros can get the same package of care as
a woman in Port-of-Spain. "Let s build a
vision and a philosophy and hand it out to
a wider community. That s the next step.
"We need to see women come out of the
shadows and be able to say, I am a breast
cancer survivor or to visit a medical centre
and ask to be checked."
Scholarship was a great gift
The national scholarship he received after
A-Levels transformed Rampaul s life. He
was from a middle-class family.
"We were not affluent or well-to-do. That
'Breast cancer killing our women'
...Dr Rajen Rampaul does his part to fight the disease, urges women to get involved
Surgical oncologist and oncoplastic
breast surgeon Dr Rajen Rampaul.
PHOTO COURTESY DR RAJEN RAMPAUL
Continues on Page B2
Our women are coming through the door
when t ey feel something is wrong, but
re is ider group of women out there
where something is wrong but they don't
know, making the incidenc bre
cancer extremely high in ur coun ry.
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