Thursday, May 31, 2007

Day 11

Our day began with a trip to the Oncology Hospital. We took an extensive tour through the facility and discussed many aspects of care for the oncology patient in Panama. The hospital used to be an American military hospital, but was turned over to Panama in 1999. Cancer is the number one killer of Panamanians, but unfortunately this is the only hospital for patients to go to. Treatment options depend on the protocol for the particular cancer. One of the positive differences for patients who have head or neck cancer is the wire face mask for radiation therapy. Instead of making permanent marks on the face, doctors can use the face shield to mark the target area with tape on the shield. Another difference with cancer in Panama is the leading types of cancer. In the States, lung cancer is the top killer. For Panama, cervical cancer and breast cancer for women and prostate cancer in men are of great concern. Panama keeps lung cancer rates low by targeting kids in elementary schools (ages 4-6) with smoking education. The expensive treatment is covered by a combination of social security, the ministry of health and the institution itself. Our time at the hospital was informative.

For a lunch break, we ate at Nikos CafĂ©. After lunch we spent more time at the Universidad de Panama. While we were waiting for Ms. Lordes (our guide), the students offered their computer lab for us to catch up on email. After the lab, the students welcomed us into the classroom for an introduction and picture time. We were given a tour of their clinical labs, both the adults and women/children's. We also discussed our plans to visit again on Monday.The university is so welcoming and we look forward to strengthening our ties. As a parting gift, we were presented with a cake and key chains. We used the cake to celebrate Sandy’s birthday. Right before the birthday party, we had a brief class discussion. The day ended with the party and an early night to bed in preparation for an early day tomorrow!

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