Jun 5, 2017 Sandra

Infection with certain viruses can sometimes cause cancer. Some of these infections can be prevented by vaccines and therefore the chance of getting certain types of cancer can be minimised. Dr Sze Wai Chan, a medical oncologist, talks us through some of the common viruses that are linked to cancer.

What are viruses? Viruses are tiny organisms containing genetic material – deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) or ribonucleic acid (RNA) – and are covered by a protein shell. When cancer causing viruses infect a living cell, the virus DNA or RNA enters…

Dec 1, 2016 Sandra
With World AIDS Day observed on 1st December, Dr Sarah Rayne talks about the connection between HIV/AIDS and cancers. HIV/AIDS affects one fifth of women of reproductive age in South Africa (SA). It is caused by infection with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), which attacks and eventually destroys the immune system of the body. Because the immune system is not working, people are more at risk of infections and some types of cancer. They may also suffer from other health problems related to these. HIV spreads through bodily fluids, and the most common way it is passed in SA…

May 1, 2016 Sandra
Stress and the Immune System’s reaction to a Cancer Diagnosis Receiving a diagnosis of cancer may feel like receiving a death sentence. Nowadays the word cancer is synonymous with death. I was speaking to a Hospice doctor the other day and he said that back in the day, people used to die from old age but now they die from cancer. This is largely due to the fact that we are now able to detect what people die from. This explains why the word “cancer” is synonymous with “death”. Survival is the top priority for all living organisms. Our bodies are fine-tuned to take…

May 1, 2016 Sandra

According to the Cancer Association of South Africa (CANSA), 30 – 40% of cancers can be reduced through lifestyle factors. These include diet and exercise, as well as the avoidance of cancer causing agents (called carcinogens) – and they can all help to reduce the cancer risk. As part of its Balanced Lifestyle campaign, CANSA offers pointers on how to reduce the cancer risk, by making informed lifestyle choices. “Some obvious choices in helping you reach healthy behaviour include the following; avoid tobacco use, exercise regularly, eat regularly choosing less processed foods, choose a combination of more raw or steam,…

Jan 1, 2016 Sandra
Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death worldwide, ranking number one for both sexes. Lung cancer can be broadly divided into two categories: non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and small cell lung cancer. According to the American Cancer Society (http://www.cancer. org/cancer/lungcancer), non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) accounts for 85- 90% of lung cancers while small cell lung cancer accounts for 10-15% of all lung cancers. NSCLC has three major subtypes: squamous cell carcinoma (25- 30%), adenocarcinoma (40%), and large cell carcinoma (10-15%). The majority of lung cancer is related to tobacco smoking, but 10-15% of lung cancers occur in lifelong never smokers1. Adenocarcinoma currently accounts for approximately 39%…

Dec 11, 2015 Laurelle Williams

More and more often it seems that we hear of yet another family member, friend, or colleague battling cancer. This devastating disease is one of the leading causes of death worldwide, with approximately 14 million new cases and 8.2 million recorded cancer-related deaths in 2012. [1] This August, the Self-Medication Manufacturer’s Association of South Africa (SMASA) encouraged all women to educate themselves about those cancers that affect women, as early detection may help save their lives. Which factors increase your risk of developing cancer? There may not be a definitive answer to this question, but the World Health Organisation (WHO)…

Dec 10, 2014 Laurelle Williams

Testicular cancer is a highly treatable, usually curable, cancer that most often develops in young and middle-aged men usually between the ages of 20 to 35 years old. Approximately 8500 new cases of testicular cancer occur in the US each year, of which less than 5% will be fatal. The testicles are the male sex glands that produce testosterone and sperm. Germ cells within the testicles produce immature sperm that travel through a network of tiny tubes and larger tubes into the epididymis, where the sperm mature and are stored. Almost all testicular cancers start in the germ cells. The…

Dec 10, 2013 Laurelle Williams

Invasive cervical cancer is one of the most common cancers found in women and in developing countries it remains the second most common cause of cancer death in women. It is estimated that there are more than 500 000 new cases of cervical cancer every year, with in excess of 80% in developing countries like South Africa. In addition to these statistics, there are also a significant amount of women who develop premalignant cervical changes which can progress to cancer without appropriate screening and management. The central cause of cervix cancer is the Human Papiloma Virus (HPV), a sexually transmitted virus, which is responsible for 99% of…

Dec 10, 2013 Laurelle Williams

Colon cancer is most commonly a disease in older patients with the vast majority of cases occurring after the age of 50, although there is an increasing number of younger patients who are being diagnosed. Due to the age specific incidence of bowel cancer, it is associated with numerous challenges. Globally, colorectal (bowel) cancer is the third most diagnosed cancer in males and the second in females, with over 1.2 million new cases and 608 700 deaths estimated to have occurred in 2008. The highest incidence rates are in Australia and New Zealand, Europe and North America, and the lowest…