“facilitate access, remove obstacles” to breast cancer screening • TNTV Tahiti Nui Télévision

TNTV: You are the referring doctor at the French Polynesia cancer institute, the ICPF, which since this year has been in charge of screening throughout the fenua. First of all it is perhaps good to remember what breast cancer is. What are the causes ?
Delphine Lutringer, referent doctor of the cancer institute: “Breast cancer is a disorder in the titi cells, which begin to divide in a completely anarchic way. The causes are not well known. Cancer is a multifactorial disease. that is to say that there are plenty of small causes that accumulate, which are difficult to identify. Nevertheless, we still know some risk factors. Some for which you can’t do much, like being a woman for example. It is true that men can develop breast cancer. There is aging. The older we get, the greater our risk of developing breast cancer. And then there is also the family history when there are many cases of cancer in the family. Then there are factors that can be modified a little more. For example excessive alcohol consumption, lack of physical activity or obesity which can have an impact on the risk.”

What is the impact on the daily life of a woman with breast cancer?
“Inevitably it will put his life on hold for a number of weeks. A number of months. Nevertheless, what is very important, and particularly through this month of pink October which is raising women’s awareness of screening, is that we know that when breast cancer is screened, diagnosed, very early, even though it doesn’t make people talk about him, when he’s very young, well, we know that it’s a cancer that we’re going to take care of very well, that we’re going to cure. And above all we will have a treatment that will be shorter, and less heavy.”

Screening through mammography. This is what we are trying to raise awareness about during the month of October. And yet Delphine Lutringer, only 41% of the target population has had a mammogram over the past two years. Why ?
“The mammogram is every two years. This screening is recommended between the ages of 50 and 74. It’s true that 41% isn’t bad, you might say, but it’s far from satisfactory. That’s a very good question. We have to try to understand why in order to be able to try to improve, to remove certain obstacles. Why, it could be because I don’t have transportation, I can’t get to a radiologist. It’s “I don’t have time” or “I think about it at some point and then I don’t make an appointment”. And then there is fear. It can be the fear of screening, of the examination itself.”

Is the exam painless?
“No, when it’s done well, with kindness, it is not a painful examination. There may also be fear of the outcome and fear of illness. So that’s one of the reasons why the Tarona quickly has been conceived. It is to try to remove a certain number of these brakes: that of transport, that of fear…”

This is what was missing in this month of pink October: to facilitate access to screening for women?
“In part. That’s what we’re trying to do. We try to be innovative. And then there is also the group effect because these women are transported in groups. So they can trade. Some have never had a mammogram, some have already done so. So it allows discussion between them and that those who have done so can reassure the others. And so the women are still super happy and come out with an extremely positive experience of this screening. And they can also transmit information around them.”

On average 160 new cases of breast cancer are detected each year. This is the first time that the ICPF has organized the month of Pink October. We imagine that these operations will be repeated from year to year. What do you hope for the following years?
“This program that we are testing in October, we would like to be able to perpetuate it, to evaluate it. If it makes sense, if everyone is happy and it is quite simple to implement, we will try to extend it during the year. Of course we will repeat actions in October but not only in October. To try to facilitate access, to remove certain obstacles, to look for new innovative projects whether for Tahiti but also for more distant archipelagos obviously because it is highly more complex to bring the mammograph, this device, close to women .”

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