Ewha Womans University Cancer Center for Women Is Aiming to Become a Global Medical Hub

World famous breast cancer surgeon Paik committed to providing world-class women-focused medical innovations

Dr. Paik Nam-Sun, director of Ewha Womans University Cancer Center for Women, the nation's only cancer center hospital for women, has developed the catchphrase Patient-friendly hospital because a majority of people conjure up images of death and pain when they are diagnosed with cancer.
Being a great breast cancer surgeon is not limited to conducting an operation to prevent cancer from returning or enhancing survival rates, but also demands communication with patients and their families to address their physical, as well as emotional needs,he says.
He stressed the development of rapport to improve communication with each other.
We realize that medical services does not mean simply providing medical treatment for patients, but also requires enhancing the quality of their lives by making them feel comfortable and at home, Dr. Paik declared while recently taking office as the director of Ewha Womans University Cancer Center for Women, which belongs to Ewha Womans University Medical Center (EUMC) in Mok-dong, western Seoul.
Dr. Paik said he will run a medical center that provides excellent value for cost by offering comprehensive medical care to patients in a speedy and convenient fashion in order to enhance confidence among patients and make them feel confident in their healing. This will all be done with consideration for the patient's quality of their life so that they can enjoy comfort and solace after finishing medical treatment.
I feel overwhelmed by the responsibility of leading Ewha Womans University Cancer Center for Women forward. Even though the current medical situation is not easy, we will devote ourselves to building the first, the best global women's cancer hospital to provide care for patients beyond Asia by accelerating customer-oriented, creative and innovative activities based on assets the medical center has accumulated over the past 124 years of education for women, research and medical treatment,he said.
Ewha Womans University Cancer Center for Women is a hospital specializing in treating women's cancers, and I have been in the field of breast cancer and thyroid cancer, so I will throw my heart and soul into the care of patients and further development of EUMC and Ewha Womans University Cancer Center for Women, he said.
GLOBAL STANDARD HOSPITAL - EUMC has recently become the first Korean hospital to obtain Joint Commission International (JCI) Accreditation Standards for Hospitals, Version IV, the JCI certification with the most stringent standards, after finishing an on-site inspection from July 4-7. Thirteen Korean hospitals have been certified with the earlier versions of the JCI Accreditation Standards for Hospitals.
His current position is just the most recent of his contributions to the development of the Korean medical field, he said, adding that he thinks Korean hospitals will have to turn to medical tourism to tide over the stark reality of the deficit-incurred Korean medical field -- they cannot make ends meet solely through the reimbursements of treating patients with insurance. He noted that Korea's medical treatment levels are not behind those of the United States, Europe or Japan. For instance, undergoing a test with a PET-CT to diagnose a patient with cancer costs around $7,000 (8 million won) in the United States, but it can be done just 1.2 million won if a patient is not covered by the medical insurance system, he said. The reality is that Korean expatriates who have toiled all their life to make money overseas could end up spending their precious money on medical care, so Paik plans to encourage such overseas Korean compatriots to return to their motherland to undergo high caliber medical treatments with easy communication and reasonable prices.
MEDICAL TRACK RECORD - Dr. Paik says his hospital employs state-of-the-art oncoplastic surgery, Alloderm breast reconstruction and other cosmetic operation methods. He has already earned a reputation for successfully conducting breast cancer operations in Korea and abroad.
Dr. Paik is famed for having performing the first breast-conserving surgery in Korea. He has held positions including: president of Korean Breast Cancer Society and also president of the Asian Breast Cancer Society. Currently, Dr. Paik is the president of the Korea Clinical Cancer Prevention Society and also vice president of the Korean Cancer Society. Dr. Paik was named the 2001 Man of the Year in the United States and was placed on a list of the global top 100 gastric and breast cancer surgeons by the international Biographical Center of Cambridge in the UK, in 2006.
Dr. Paik goes on tour several times yearly in Korea and abroad to give lectures on breast cancer and to perform oncoplastic operations. For instance, he once lectured and performed breast cancer operations while visiting Debrecen University in Hungary and Ulan Bator Medical Center in Mongolia.
He successfully performed the nation's first breast-conserving surgery, and he developed a special technique to prevent reflux esophagitis, coined as Paik's Procedure. He has demonstrated a keen interest in breast cancer starting in the late 1980s while participating in academic meetings on the then most frequent female cancers in the United States. At that time, he expected breast cancer to emerge as the most common female cancer in Korea if the nation adopted an increasingly western lifestyle.
Umberto Veronesi who is a world famous Italian breast surgeon and oncologist, submitted in the New England Journal of Medicine his finding of a breast cancer treatment with the invention of the quadrantectomy technique during breast-conserving surgery. He was confident of the use of the innovative surgery method when he heard during his stay in Italy that Paik had succeeded in performing a breast cancer operation employing the innovative method for the first time in Korea despite initial worries over intrinsic risks. Paik's desire to perform a breast-conserving procedure was in the interests of breast cancer patients, who not only suffer from the initial shock of having breast cancer, but are further dismayed by the loss of a breast through surgery, which often led to divorce or the patient avoiding public bath-houses. Dr. Paik's core values for offering medical treatment are to focus not only on treating breast cancer, but also on oncoplastic procedures for the reconstruction of the breast. Oncoplastic surgery for breast cancer has become the preferred method over breast conserving surgery.
Dr. Paik also revealed his audacious ambitions during his inaugural speech to Ewha Womans University Cancer Center for Women on May 16 at the hospital. He cited such catchphrases as The First, The Best Global Women's Cancer Hospital and Patient Friendly, C-SMART Hospital. C-SMART Hospital is an acronym for: C (Creative, Confidence, Convenience and Comfort), S (Speed and Science), M (Management and Medical Tourism for foreign patients), A (Alumni-unification and Alternative), R (Research and Revival) and T (Trust and Technology).
Suh Hyun-sook, president of Ewha Womans University Medical Center, said in her speech at the inauguration ceremony, Director Paik has excellent management capability and unrivalled management tactics, and I believe that he will build a solid foundation for transforming Ewha Womans University Cancer Center for Women into Korea's representative cancer center for women and a world-class one.
As part of efforts to accelerate the exploration of a broader clientele, he said, his hospital will form a human network of communication among new Ewha Womans University graduates and overseas alumni and introduce state-of-the-art technology. In particular, Paik said, his hospital plans to explore a new treatment method by introducing Intra-Operative Radiation Therapy (IORT) for the first time in Korea. The latest medical equipment promises to be a magnet for attracting new patients since it could minimize the time, economic and psychological burdens of radiation treatment by reducing treatment time to two weeks instead of the conventional two months.
A graduate of Seoul National University Medical College in 1973, Paik has been in the medical field for nearly 40 years, and during this time he has shot to stardom in Korea and abroad. Paik, who earned a doctorate at the Seoul National University Medical College Surgery Department, took up positions as the president of the Korea Institute of Radiological & Medical Sciences (KIRAMS) and the president of Konkuk University Medical Center. He studied at the ESO, Italy Breast Cancer Course; the CME, USA Breast Cancer Course; the ESCO, Italy Breast Cancer Course; and underwent a clinical doctor's training course at the Dana-Farber Medical Center in the United States, an affiliate of Harvard University. He now also serves as a visiting professor at Northern Jiangsu People's Hospital in China; is the standing director of the Asian Congress of Surgery; the standing director of the Korean Hospital Association; and the president of the Korean Society for Clinical Cancer Prevention.
THE SINGING DOCTOR - Paik loves to sing, especially jazz, and write poems. Paik has taken to the stage with famous jazz singers on five occasions. He was invited to sing a song for to entertain invited guests and patients during his inauguration ceremony. He has held jazz performances with Korea's first generation jazz musicians including Yoon, Hee-jung, Lim, B cheon, Ryu Yeol, Choi jw and German jazz group Saltacello.
His favorite songs include Tony Bennett's I Left My Heart in San Francisco, Matt Monroe's Walk Away and Korean singer Jo Yong-pil's Broken Heart. He loves to drop into a noraebang (singing room) frequently after dining with his hospital colleagues and staff members.
Dr. Paik earned his nickname as the Singing Hospital Director after he took to the stage for a performance of I Left My Heart in San Francisco in July 2008 shortly after he took office as president of the Konkuk University Medical Center. He shot to stardom as a video of his appearance at the debut performance by the medical center's newly inaugurated vocal group circulated.
He has four hobbies -- singing jazz, reading and writing poems, playing golf and learning foreign languages.
He recalled that the reason he adores singing is owed to learning English. He learned singing such lyrics as Sad movies always make me cry along with an English teacher, a Canadian missionary. For instance, Paik said, singing the lyrics Sad movies always make me cry made it easy to for him to understand the structure of English sentences by combining subject, predicative verb, object and complement, and whenever a situation changed, he changed words, so he loves singing songs and taking to the stage, adding that he is innately optimistic.
He would take the stage to sing while holding seminars or dining with doctors from Korea or other countries. But he never took regular courses to learn to sing, so practicing lyrics repeatedly is the best policy, he said.
Some people question why I sing jazz at such an advanced age. I have a different mindset, and I still think that today is the youngest day of my life, he said. For him, the key to good health is to think many positive things and lead a pleasant life, so he chose singing as a way to lead a positive life. Paik relieves the stress he has accumulated during risky cancer operations by singing.
As to the secrets of his success, he compared each moment of his life to integral calculus, saying, Here and now, do our best. He also quotes former first lady of the United States, Eleanor Roosevelt, who said, Yesterday is history; tomorrow is a mystery; and today is a gift. Paik said, We cannot idle away now, so we have to pave the way for success, like solving questions related to integral calculus.
In Korea, the number of women suffering from breast cancer grows by an average of 7% annually. Of late, one out of every eight women in the United States has had or will suffer from breast cancer, thus the gaining the nickname of the ?ne-in-Eight Disease. Breast cancer ranks second among cancers for female patients following thyroid cancer, and is found in females in their late 40s most frequently.
Dr. Paik warns that Korea could have the greatest increase in breast cancer occurrence rate in the world. He cited the reasons for such a situation the nation's dietary change towards a more western style and the extended use of hormone replacement therapy during postmenopausal status, late-age full-term babies, and low physical activity.
He is also famous for having tided over the so-called VIP Syndrome in which doctors are stressed by the worries of a bad operation result when performing operations on family members or acquaintances, as he himself removed his wife's gastric cancer. He suggests early detection of cancer symptoms, as was the case with his wife.
Dr. Paik stressed the importance of strengthening the level of one's immunity through dietary habits. Generally, cancers are divided into two types -- one is solid cancers
and the other is hematological cancers, including leukemia -- and medical treatment ranges from operation to radiation, chemotherapy and immunotherapy. Even if all visible cancer cells can be removed by an operation, he said, dormant cancer cells could be activated so immunotherapy could kill the remaining cancerous cells without impairing normal cells. Paik said strengthening immunity depends on how balanced and healthy the dietary habits of people are. He said Your food is your medicine, and your medicine is your food He says dietary habits are responsible for causing 85 percent of a variety of cancers. In this regard, Paik was engrossed with research on dietary habits while staying at the Japanese National Cancer Medical Center, Tokyo during 1985~6. During cancer patient treatment, he would ask numerous questions about dietary habits.
He has since increased public recognition for the importance of dietary habits for the prevention of cancer by stressing the point whenever he has been involved in symposiums or publishing books on health, including 54 Products Considered Effective for Preventing Cancers and, You can be a Winner against Cancer if you know cancer's Dr. Paik disclosed his daily food intake: rice is a must, plus ground fruits and some fish. It is to refrain from eating spicy and hot foods. In theory, eating more than 29 grams of fiber daily is highly recommended for preventing colorectal cancer.
Westerners find themselves having problems having bowel movements since they eat more meat, fast foods and high calories as part of a diet high in fat. While traveling in Europe, were faced with a similar situation in which feces turns yellowish brown and hard. nw


Dr. Paik Nam-Sun, director of Ewha Womans University Cancer Center for Women, the nation's only cancer center hospital for women.

Dr. Paik Nam-Sun, director of Ewha Womans University Cancer Center for Women, beams beside the Ewha Womans University MedicaL Center's bulletin board announcing his appointment.

Ewha Womans University Medical Center (EUMC) has recently become the first Korean hospital to obtain Joint Commission International (JCI) Accreditation Standards for Hospitals, Version IV, its most advanced JCI certification. (above, left) Officials from EUMC and JCI pose for the camera after finishing an on-site inspection from July 4-7.

Dr. Paik conducts an operation on a cancer patient during his visit to Debrecen University in Hungary.

Photos show the past and the present of breast cancer operation technology. (Far right) a breast cancer patient is seen with almost no operation scars.

(below., clockwise) Dr. Paik lectures in the Ulan Bator Cancer Center in Mongolia,; He gives a lecture on breast cancer during his visit to Debrecen University in Hungary,; and Paik, dubbed The Singing Doctor, loves to sing, especially jazz for patients and colleagues at forums.

A view of the Ewha Womans University MedicaL Center that houses the Ewha Womans University Cancer Center for Women in Mok-song, Yangcheon-gu, Seoul.

Photos on Courtesy of the EUMC & NewsWorld

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