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Breast Cancer Awareness Month: Interview with Breast Surgeon Dr. Fiona Tsui-fen Cheng

BY RUBY 2023/10/16

Women's breasts are a unique presence, and breast cancer is an issue that deserves profound attention.


As a woman with a family history of breast cancer, I have always emphasized the importance of breast cancer prevention. In recent years, some of my friends of a similar age have been diagnosed with breast cancer, but fortunately, they discovered it early and underwent aggressive treatment, leading to most of them returning to normal lives.


In Breast Cancer Prevention Month, ME30 takes this opportunity to convey accurate health information to the public. We have interviewed Dr. Fiona Tsui-fen Cheng, a breast surgeon and the Director of the Taiwan Breast Tumor Surgery and Reconstruction Medical Association at Shin Kong Wu Ho Su Memorial Hospital.

Dr. Cheng emphasizes that the medical community still underscores the importance of "prevention is better than cure." Despite the repeated promotion of this concept in recent years, many patients miss the optimal treatment window due to fear, procrastination, and avoidance, resulting in delayed treatment. This includes some well-known individuals.


Regarding breast cancer prevention, Dr. Cheng stresses that "women over 30 should undergo breast ultrasound examinations every 1-1.5 years. If benign tumors are found, it is recommended to consult a breast specialist for regular follow-up. Women over 45 receive government-subsidized mammograms every two years in addition to regular ultrasound examinations to prevent or detect breast cancer early."


Dr. Cheng also advises women to perform simple self-examinations while showering to check for any abnormalities in their breasts. She mentions that on soapy breasts, use one hand to raise the breast and the other hand to glide in circular motions. This method can help women easily detect breast lumps.

Dr. Cheng points out that a healthy diet is also crucial and advises against overeating. She emphasizes, "Breast cancer is also associated with poor dietary habits, excessive food intake, and a high-calorie diet can lead to hormonal fluctuations in women, which is one of the reasons young women in our country develop 'hormone-positive' breast cancer. Additionally, late marriage, no marriage, or no childbirth is also a risk factor for breast cancer."


Thanks to advancements in medicine, there are now more techniques and options available for breast cancer treatment in recent years. Therefore, even if cancer is detected, early treatment has a very positive prognosis. Dr. Cheng has been focusing on breast cancer surgery and post-operative reconstruction in recent years, as the Chairwoman of the Taiwan Breast Tumor Surgery and Reconstruction Medical Association. She believes that breasts are a significant source of confidence for women. Dr. Cheng emphasizes, "Breast reconstruction may seem like a minor decision, but it is essential for a woman's psychological support. Breasts are a unique presence for us as women. Facing the situation of having one side of the breast tissue removed, patients may experience a lack of self-confidence. Therefore, I always do my best to help our patients restore their beautiful breasts."


During the interview, Dr. Cheng enthusiastically shared some before-and-after surgery comparisons. These photos document the recovery process of many women and illustrate Dr. Cheng's passion and expertise. In fact, not every breast cancer patient can detect the disease at an early stage, so many people need to deal with physical changes in breast shape after tumor removal surgery, which can indirectly affect the mental health of patients.

Dr. Cheng says, "Which woman doesn't want to look beautiful? Even though they have undergone disease treatment, they still want to look their best." Recently, Dr. Cheng has adopted the less invasive "DIEP flap surgery" for breast reconstruction. She says, "Medicine must continuously integrate with technology, and I'm always interested in new technologies and techniques." Through Dr. Cheng's story, we see the same spirit as the ME30 community – continuous growth and change, which is our shared new hope: #becoming_.

Dr. Cheng adds, "Exercise is crucial for cancer prevention!" Apart from her professional field, Dr. Cheng is passionate about various sports like scuba diving, skiing, golf, and more.


Given her love for sports, ME30 has prepared sustainable accessories as a gift for this interview. These accessories blend seamlessly with the modern women's lifestyle, allowing them to dress comfortably and without the hassle of coordination. They can be worn during exercise or while sweating, providing comfort and freedom.


Through this interview with Dr. Fiona Tsui-fen Cheng, we have gained a deeper understanding of breast cancer. It also allows ME30 to join in the spirit of the pink ribbon in October, collectively conveying accurate and positive information and strength for women's breast health and breast cancer prevention.