Several women recovering from breast cancer recently came to Shanghai Jiahui International Hospital to meet with Dr. Tibor Kovacs, a leading expert in breast cancer and reconstructive surgery with vast experience in oncoplastic breast conservation, breast reconstruction and risk reduction breast surgery.

    The meeting held at Jiahui International Hospital was a unique opportunity for the breast cancer survivors and one of the top surgical oncologists to communicate and exchange on topics of mutual importance.

    Who is Dr. Tibor Kovacs?

    Dr. Kovacs is a European Board Certified Surgical Oncologist and Breast Cancer Surgeon at Guy’s and St. Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust Breast Unit and Honorary Senior Lecturer at King’s College London. He specialises in complex oncoplastic breast conservation techniques and immediate breast reconstruction and risk reduction surgery for high familial risk patients. At the international level, Dr. Kovacs is the President of the European Society of Surgical Oncology (ESSO), Chair and founder of the ESSO Oncoplastic Breast Surgery Course, Faculty on several prestigious International Breast Surgery masterclasses and workshops, an Examiner for the European Board of Surgery Qualification in Breast Surgery since 2010, tutor of the ESSO Breast Surgery fellowship program at Guy’s, Associate Editor of the European Journal of Surgical Oncology and, most recently, Chair of BRESO, a European platform on Breast Surgery Certification, promoting accredited specialist surgical care for breast cancer patients established between leading European organisations for breast cancer care. Starting from today, Dr. Kovacs will lead the department of Breast Health at Jiahui International Cancer Centre as its new Director of Breast Health.

    Dr. Kovacs welcomed six women recovering from breast cancer to join him at Jiahui International Cancer Center for an informal and open exchange of ideas and concerns. During the meeting, the women shared with Dr. Kovacs their feelings and thoughts on recovering from breast cancer and listened as he introduced the latest advancements in breast cancer surgery and breast reconstruction. Dr. Kovacs is a practitioner of the European model of post-breast cancer breast reconstruction, which differs slightly from the American model. In the European model, practiced in the UK and Germany, it is common for one surgical oncologist to perform both breast surgery and reconstruction. While this model requires a greater level of training and mastery of both oncological and plastic surgery techniques, patient satisfaction is very high.

    The latest in breast cancer treatment and reconstruction

    Dr. Kovacs began his presentation by asking the participants to share their personal experience with breast cancer screening, as regular mammography exams are important for women over 45 years old. In Dr. Kovacs’ presentation, he addressed several concerns of the participants, such as the latest guidelines for breast cancer surgery, including the use of mastectomies to protect against the recurrence of breast cancer; the safety of delaying lumpectomies and using hormonal therapy to shrink cancer cells; and the quality of pathological reporting in China. One attendee was told not to entrust local hospitals with doing a biopsy, as their standards are low and results can be slow. They chose instead to go back to their home country to have them done. Some members were also very interested in learning about secondary treatments. For example, the possible applications and efficacy of cyrotherapy.

    When Dr. Kovacs mentioned breast reconstruction, all the attendees were very interested in finding out what is available for reconstruction if one opts for mastectomy, and the precautions that should be taken following reconstructive surgery. As an international leader in breast cancer research, Dr. Kovacs discussed his continued efforts to push for innovations in breast cancer treatment that allow for both treatment and breast reconstruction. He has promoted new technologies, such as radio-guided surgery and breast reconstruction based on dermal flaps and biological meshes. At present, this technique is highly favoured among surgical oncologists, as it allows them to achieve a natural look without affecting the start of chemo-radiotherapy or increasing recurrence. He has also developed a novel technique called pre-pectoral implant reconstruction, which results in far fewer side effects, quicker recovery and very good aesthetic results. Dr. Kovacs explained how breast reconstruction does not hinder the treatment of tumours, nor does it delay follow-up adjuvant therapy, as patients who receive a complete mastectomy are able to "rebuild" the breast. Therefore, it is applicable to patients who cannot carry out breast preservation treatment and need to remove the entire breast.

    Physical and emotional healing

    Dr. Kovacs also emphasized that breast reconstruction is about more than just restoring the physical appearance of patients with breast cancer, it can also help women recover their confidence and address the sense of loss that can accompany mastectomy operations. Dr. Kovacs is very focused on promoting oncoplastic and breast reconstructive surgery for those who suffer from breast cancer, and insuring that breast cancer patients can enjoy reliable treatment results and a better life.

    Jiahui Health is thrilled to work with Dr. Kovacs and looks forward to making world-class, state-of-the-art breast care available to patients in Shanghai and beyond.


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