Breast Cancer Specialist Clinic in Finland
Breast Cancer Care in Finland
Breast cancer is the most common form of cancer among women, affecting one in nine women worldwide.
The treatment results achieved in Finland are among the top three in the world and thanks to the highly developed national screening program and early diagnosis, 92% of patients are well after five years of being diagnosed with breast cancer and even at 10 years the figure is 86%.
Leading Breast Cancer Clinic
This superb clinic is a private breast cancer clinic and one of the leading private clinics for women’s health in Finland.
It is a clinic owned by Women to provide women with the very best in Breast Health.
The clinic specialises in all kinds of breast corrections with particular emphasis on breast reconstructions after breast cancer.
In 75% of the clinic’s breast cancer patient cases, the breast can be spared during the primary cancer operation with exceptional plastic surgical skills (this is called oncoplastic surgery).
Clinic in Savonlinna
This clinic was founded in 1999 in Savonlinna, to offer Dr Puonti’s unique expertise in breast reconstruction to a wider audience in Finland.
The Doctor's special expertise is a microneurovascular muscle-sparing TRAM reconstruction.
In 2010 the clinic started to offer this expertise also to foreign patients who seek exceptional health care services abroad.
The clinic’s Microneurovascular breast reconstructions are performed in the Savonlinna Central Hospital.
Savonlinna is a quaint town surrounded by lakes in the Eastern part of Finland.
Savonlinna is known for its annual international Opera Festival which transforms the city into a vibrant cultural meeting point for opera lovers from all over the world. The surrounding lake scenery and quiet nature gives an optimal starting point for a serene recovery.
Brand New Clinic in Tampere
In 2022 the clinic widened their services and opened the second clinic in Tampere, third largest city Finland.
Diagnostics and Surgery
The clinic offers state-of-the-art breast cancer treatment with modern methods with over 30 years of experience.
Early detection, accurate diagnosis, and radical surgery are the basic keys to a good recovery.
Mammography, breast ultra-sound and Tru-cut biopsy are the essential basic examinations.
Also breast magnetic resonance examination (MRI) is often needed.
The PLANNING of the cancer operation for patient’s breast is the most important moment for the patient’s future life.
An experienced oncoplastic surgeon carefully considers all aspects to be able to spare the breast, correct the breast form in primary operation despite a radical resection, correct the possible asymmetry, when needed; and plan the secondary breast reconstruction options. This can include sparing the breast skin and leaving an expander with acellular matrix in place for the new breast.
The clinic performs breast-conserving surgery, whenever possible. Sometimes a mastectomy is necessary, if there are multiple tumours in the breast or if the tumour is very large compared to the size of the breast.
If breast removal is necessary due to the extent of the disease, an immediate breast reconstruction may be possible, meaning that the breast can be rebuilt already during breast cancer surgery. That is a case, when large tumour in a breast is at early stage and radiation after mastectomy will not be needed.
In most cases, however, the new breast is built at a later stage when breast cancer treatments have been finished and the patient has fully recovered from the illness.
The armpit sentinel node and the armpit prevalence study are always part of breast cancer surgery as a sentinel node examination establishes the axillary status. Whenever possible, we aim to spare the lymph nodes in the armpit during breast cancer surgery to give the hand a better future functionality.
After breast cancer surgery, a pathologist analyses all removed tissue sections (with histological and immunohistological techniques), and makes a final evaluation of the extent of the patient’s breast cancer.
Based on the findings, an oncologist then plans the oncological aftercare. This treatment also known as adjuvant therapy includes chemotherapy, radiotherapy, and hormonal therapy as needed. In certain cases, oncological care with chemotherapy is performed before surgery, for example in cases of inflammatory breast cancer (neo-adjuvant treatment).
The Clinic offers all oncological treatments in Finland under the follow-up of our excellent oncologists, but it is also possible to get our oncologist’s recommendations for this after care and perform chemotherapy and radiation at one of your nearest hospitals in your country.
Rehabilitation after Breast Cancer
The clinic is a pioneer in breast cancer rehabilitation.
“We put our heart and soul into treating our patients and we will help our patients overcome their illness and facilitate the return to a good quality of life.”
Rehabilitation starts right after the breast cancer diagnostics.
It is essential to support patient’s capability to go through the frightening path of breast cancer treatment. Rehabilitation supports a speedy recovery and helps the patients return to their normal life as it was before the illness.
Breast reconstruction is essential for a woman’s quality of life.
It is an important part of recovery journey. A breast can be reconstructed during the cancer operation or after the patient has fully recovered from cancer treatment.
Usually the recovery takes 1 to 2 years. For patients with high-risk cancer, it is recommended to allow three years for recovery.
Breast reconstruction using the patient’s own tissue (autografts) gives the most natural results. For implants, tissue expanders, and fat transfer there are also highly developed techniques and they offer a feasible option for slim patients who have little tissue of their own to be used for transplantation.
Sensing Breast Reconstruction
Most reconstructive operations performed at the clinic are carried out using the patient self tissue transplantation method.
They perform the unique “Sensing breast”-method with free abdominal flap from the patient’s own skin and fat tissue below the umbilicus.
By connecting also nerves from the flap into the breast area, the sensation can return to the new breast skin.
Dr Puonti has developed a microneurovascular technique for ms-TRAM where the breast will become not only natural looking but also sensing. In most cases it shapes nicely also the patients’ abdominal area.
World Class Medical Expertise
Helena Puonti, PhD, Plastic Surgeon.
Microsurgeon and Microneurovascular Reconstructive Surgeon
- Surgical treatment of breast cancer:
- Breast conserving surgery and reconstructive surgery after the removal of breast tumours, using the patient’s own tissue or implants
- Microneurovascular reconstructive surgery, microneurovascular MS-TRAM, “Sensing breast”
- Specialist in all kinds of breast corrections
- Treatment of lymphostasis, melanoma and surgical care of skin diseases
- Aesthetic plastic surgery
In 2002, Dr Puonti was awarded The Best Oncologist award by the Finnish Cancer Foundation.
Here's what patients say ...
“I got a very good impression of the clinic, everything was very clean. Doctor Helena was very friendly and professional. I felt great confidence that I would undergo a high-quality operation. I was always able to ask any questions I had in my mind and I got detailed answers to them. A huge thank you to the clinic’s staff, especially Olga and Inna.”
“I want to express my deepest respect and feeling of gratitude to Helena and the staff of the Clinic she leads. Thank you for the professionalism, tactful treatment in such a difficult life situation. You pay attention to everything, even in the smallest things. Helena is amazingly skilled. With all her actions and words she installs confidence. She ensures you that everything will be fine and everything is under her professional control. Thank you very much for everything!."
Read a Full Patient Experience ...
"I was a 34-year-old single mum with a two-year-old daughter, living quite a busy life. I had a demanding job where I was responsible for leading a team, I had lots of hobbies and an active social life.
Strange Feeling in the Breast
One day, I felt some odd sensations in my right breast and upon checking, I found some lumps so I decided to contact my GP about them. After examining me himself, he sent me to have a mammography. After several further tests and samples, I was finally diagnosed with breast cancer.
The news was shocking, and I was petrified.
Luckily for me, I found Dr Helena Puonti. She was reassuring and professional and she clearly explained the procedure to me in such detail that I was able to understand exactly what was ahead of me. Whilst she also made me aware of the risks that an operation such as this could include, I was able to have complete trust in her.
She also met me on emotional level holistically, taking my whole situation into consideration.
My First Operation
My breast tumour was large so the breast needed to be removed.
The tumour was an early stage so thankfully the Doctor was able to perform a breast reconstruction during the same surgery procedure.
The MS-TRAM (Muscle-Sparing Transverse Rectus Abdominis Myocutaneous flap) operation was long and the recovery was painful. But Helena was with me throughout the whole process. She made herself available to help and answer all my questions.
The physical recovery took around six weeks, but the mental and emotional recovery took much longer. The reconstructed breast didn’t look pretty at the beginning, but I was just happy that it had been made. Helena also told me that she would later fix it to look more like my left (natural) breast.
Who Would Take Care of My Daughter?
Little did we know, nine months later I would lose my left breast to cancer too. Helena operated on my left breast too. This time, she used my back muscle to reconstruct my breast.
Again, she clearly explained to me how she planned to operate and we went through all the details so that I felt safe.
The emotional stress was even worse this time. I wasn’t completely sure if I would stay alive.
So many thoughts went through my head. “Who am I without my own breasts?”, “What am I going to look like?”, “How will I ever be able to take my clothes off again?”
And the worst thought of all, “who is going to take care of my little daughter if I don’t make it?’.
In Helena’s Capable Hands
Bit by bit Helena managed to fix my body to look more ‘normal’ and like its old self. The scar on my stomach and the zigzag pattern on my back were first red then blue but finally became lighter and lighter.
The shape of my breasts became softer and rounder and after Helena crafted my new nipples (Barbie hats, as she called them) and tattooed them a darker colour to match my natural nipples, I began to feel more confident with my body-image.
I was very lucky and blessed to have Helena in my life during that time. Not only as a doctor but almost as a friend. She really cares for her patients and does whatever it takes to make us feel feminine again!
My Life Now
After moving to England in 2000 and during my six-monthly cancer controls, I would get many compliments about my reconstructed breasts. The local doctors wanted to know where they were made. You can only imagine how proud I was to explain that I’m from Finland and we had this talented super-special breast and plastic surgeon in our little hometown, Savonlinna.
They have all been very impressed and so am I.
After 25 years, I’m still alive, happily married, have a healthy grown-up daughter, and my “Helena-made-breasts” are beautiful.
I could not recommend her enough to anyone needing and considering similar operations. All her work is done to the highest clinical standards and with exceptional personal care.
Thank you, Helena, for saving my life, and giving me back my femininity."Enquire about Treatment
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