March 26, 2018 Editor

It’s hard to imagine that cervical cancer affected the lives of two sisters in the same year, and in very different ways. Sisters, Alrita Groenewald and Tessa Supra, share their rare but moving story. The younger sister Alrita (41) was given less than 30% chance of survival, while her sister  Tessa Supra (46) chose to silently carry the burden of her subsequent diagnosis. Alrita’s cervical cancer diagnosis comes just after giving birth to her third child. In January 2015, Alrita, then six months pregnant, complained to her gynaecologist of excruciating back pain. Prevented from taking strong medication due to her…

February 7, 2018 Editor

Any cancer diagnosis is traumatic and can cause confusion and anxiety, the team at the Ahmed Kathrada Cancer Institute have put together some guidelines to help you prepare as best as possible for your first oncology visit.

Before your appointment Bring someone with you – it is always good to have support, it will also help to have someone to make sense of everything that will be discussed. Draw up a list of your questions, often many concerns are forgotten while trying to absorb all the information from the appointment. During your appointment Questions to ask: What is…

February 7, 2018 Editor

An Bakkes’ story is set to change the lives of mothers facing the trauma of a cancer diagnosis. Diagnosed during first pregnancy At the age of 34, An was diagnosed with Stage 4 melanoma metastatic cancer. She was pregnant with her first child. The shock of the diagnosis was one that her doctor couldn’t bear to give her when he first found out. “My doctor postponed my appointment until the end of the weekend as he didn’t know how to tell a pregnant woman she has Stage 4 cancer,” An recalls. She went through the remaining months of her pregnancy…

December 1, 2017 Editor
Sanlam, in collaboration with the Cancer Association of South Africa (CANSA), has developed a support guide to equip family and friends with advice on how best to support a loved one fighting cancer. This guide is based on feedback from cancer patients and survivors about the kinds of support they received or wanted to receive during their treatment. In South Africa, 1 in 4 people is affected by cancer either directly or through diagnosis of a friend, family member or colleague. Breast cancer is the most prevalent cancer in the country, with an incidence rate of 1 in every…

July 27, 2017 Editor
Ineke Gietzman, a Discovery Advanced Illness Benefit Care Coordinator, explains what her job entails. “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” So the saying goes. And, the spark in the eyes of people who truly find their calling – people like Ineke Gietzman – proves it time and again. Ineke lives out her burning passion to ensure that people with life-threatening cancers live their last days with quality of life and dignity. This Palliative Care Coordinator’s kind green eyes are surrounded by gentle lines that tell of deep empathy,…

September 21, 2016 Editor
Many cancer patients and their families receive the advice, from their healthcare team, that there is no response to treatment, and that cure or long-term remission is no longer possible. Once this ‘advanced stage’ has been reached, the treatment plan changes from curative to palliative, and the first priority of families is to ensure their loved ones receive the best medical and supportive care, for improved quality of life, for the remaining time they have. The Advanced Illness Benefit, which is offered by Discovery Health Medical Scheme, does…

September 21, 2016 Editor

Dr Cathy Agnew explains the importance of a good doctor-patient relationship.

I’m sitting in my office, in consultation, with a patient. She is seeing me for a check-up and we have been through a   full history and examination, and have discussed the road ahead – which special investigations she needs and what therapy will benefit her. Her script for her hypertension medications needs to be renewed and we have discussed the supplements she is taking. Imperceptibly she shifts in her chair, but I am busy with the prescription so don’t take too much notice. She smiles, takes the…