Founded in 2009, Ewha Womans University Health Promotion Center in Seoul established itself as the go-to place for female patients at home and abroad.
The institution, a special unit of Ewha Womans University Mokdong Hospital, is known for its medical examination services for female patients, especially its screening tests for female-specific cancers.
The facility also offers services for its male patients at a separate location. The institution was the first in the world to offer medical examination services for women according to the principles of gender-specific medicine, a way of looking at how diagnosis and treatment of diseases differ as a function of gender.
For example, a much higher portion of women than men put off chemotherapy simply because they are “scared” ― such as of losing hair ― while being fully aware of the consequences of not receiving the treatment, said Dr. Moon Byung-in who specializes in breast cancer at the hospital.
A patient talks to a receptionist at Ewha Womans University Health Promotion Center, a special unit of Ewha Womans University Mokdong Hospital, known for its gender-specific services and medical examinations. (Ewha Womans University Mokdong Hospital)
Unpleasant diagnostic experiences, where the patient is told in a blunt manner of her survival rate and her condition, can also make her hesitant to receive the necessary treatment, he said.
Both the hospital and its health promotion center are mindful of such traits among female patients and are equipped with the latest cancer screening technology including digital 3-D tomosynthesis mammography. The hospital also offers the option of receiving breast reconstruction immediately after a mastectomy, as a way to avoid waking up to the trauma of having lost a breast.
As the health promotion center keenly collaborates with the hospital, those who get diagnosed with women’s cancers can receive the necessary surgical procedure immediately if they wish.
For example, a 64-year-old patient, who was recently diagnosed with breast cancer at the hospital’s health promotion center, was able to undergo all required medical tests before her mastectomy, including urinalysis and blood test, in four days. She received her surgical treatment two days later. Her diagnosis, tests and treatments were completed within a week.
Thanks to its gender-specific approach, the hospital’s Cancer Center for Women has received patients from 60 different countries across the world. The number of patients who receive screening tests for women’s cancers at the hospital’s health promotion center has increased by 10 percent annually since 2009.
The promotion center also started to offer special sessions with a neurologist for those who wish to be tested for dementia at an early age, since 2014.