Today my guest is Dr Bob Octovianus. Bob is a breast surgeon based in Indonesia who is doing incredible work for those affected by breast cancer in his city, Surabaya, the second largest city in Indonesia. For those who may not know, Indonesia is one of the most populated countries in the world, with about 300 million people. That is massive! Now, as you can imagine, for a country that size, health care provision can be daunting.
Dr Bob has many challenges that he must overcome, including how to deal with limited resources, cultural challenges as well as the lack of breast awareness within the community. At the moment, Indonesia does not have a breast screening service similar to what we have here in the UK. Most of Dr Bob’s patients come with breast lumps. In fact, over 60% would come with locally advanced breast cancer. We talked about the possible reasons why this was the case and what challenges this poses in terms of treatment options. Chemotherapy facilities are not readily available and so many women are forced to choose to have surgery first without systemic treatment, leading to higher incidences of recurrences.
Although breast cancer is a global disease, it was evident from our conversation that health provision varies drastically.
In his efforts to improve education and to get more women to present to their doctors earlier, Dr Bob is active on social media. He especially uses his IG platform to educate his followers about all things related to breast cancer. You can catch him doing lectures and IG lives which is such an amazing thing to do.
Do connect with Dr Bob on Instagram @askbobrsos.
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If you have wondered what a surgeon does on an operating day, let me take you behind the scenes. Check out this podcast episode, be a fly on the wall and listen here.
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