May 30, 2019 Sandra
Dr Chris Venter educates us on the fertility preservation options for female cancer patients. When someone is confronted with the devastating diagnosis of cancer, the immediate goal is to survive the cancer. In the past decades, there has been a sharp increase of survivors of cancer. This is due to advancements in cancer therapy and earlier detection of cancer.  Many cancer survivors are in their reproductive years, and survivorship issues, such as family planning, become a real need. Evidence has shown that the desire to one day have a family is a strong motivational factor for patients fighting cancer. Unfortunately,…

May 30, 2019 Sandra
Dr Sumayya Ebrahim addresses the important questions around breastfeeding and ovarian cancer. The benefits of breastfeeding for both mom and baby are widely proven and accepted. The anti-cancer benefits of breastfeeding, in relation to breast cancer, are also firmly established.  The World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends exclusive breastfeeding in the first six months of life for the health of both mother and child, and continuation of breastfeeding for two years and beyond, alongside other food and drinks. Ovarian cancer Ovarian cancer ranks fifth in cancer deaths among women. It’s responsible for more deaths than any other cancer of the female…

Jul 27, 2018 Sandra
This Women’s Month we give women behind the masks – female oncology pharmacists – the applause they deserve. Who is she? The environment appears cold, morbid and sterile. She is cloaked behind a glass screen whilst meticulously manipulating syringes and other instruments to achieve accuracy and sterility for her patient’s life altering medication.  She is driven by many things: an unwavering emotional desire to be part of the patient’s cancer journey and her need to contribute to society in a meaningful way. She is also cognizant of the profession she represents and her role in inspiring others to join and add…

Feb 2, 2017 Sandra

It has been ten years since my last smear.

What is the difference between a Catholic priest and a Women’s Health practitioner? No, it isn’t a joke. There is no screamingly funny answer. But it is a question I ask, as I sit in the confessional booth that is my desk, listening to a patient who uncomfortably divulges how long it has been since her last Pap smear. Whether she expects absolution or penance, I have no idea! The main thing, I always stress, is that she is here now, and, at that moment in time, that…

Feb 2, 2017 Sandra

We have all heard about the HPV vaccination and how it can save lives but how exactly does it work? Specialist gynaecologist, Dr Pam Pillay, expounds on this in light of January being Cervical Cancer Awareness Month.

Cervical cancer remains the most common gynaecological malignancy in women, and is associated with the highest cancer-related mortality rate. Its prevalence in sub-Saharan Africa remains high due to inadequate screening, lack of education, low compliance amongst women, and health inequity. Cervical cancer and pre-cancer is caused primarily by the human papilloma virus…

Jan 27, 2017 Sandra

0nly 10-15% of cancers can be attributed to an inherited genetic abnormality. Epigenetics is where we should be focusing our attention to prevent the rest of the cancers we diagnose.

So what is Epigenetics?  “The study of changes in organisms caused by modification of gene expression rather than alteration of the genetic code itself. Epigenetics has transformed the way we think about genomes.” We have no control over the genes we are born with (yet!), but we can make choices that can modify “bad genes or SNP’s” (Single Nucleotide Polypeptides). In a patient…

Jul 1, 2015 Sandra

Cervical cancer develops in the cervix – the low, narrow mouth of the uterus (womb) that opens into the vagina. The Cervix protects your uterus. Cervical cancer is caused by a virus called human papillomavirus (HPV), which is transmitted primarily through sexual activity. Fast Facts Up to 80% of sexually active women will acquire an HPV infection at some point in their lives. Of these infections up to 38.6% will be from Oncogenic HPV types (cancer causing). Persistent infection with oncogenic HPV types may lead to cervical cancer. Globally 70% of all cervical cancer is caused by HPV 18 and…

Dec 10, 2012 Laurelle Williams

What is an ovarian cyst? Ovarian cysts are fluid-filled sacs or pockets that occur within, or on the surface of, the ovary. Women generally have two ovaries, one on either side of the uterus. Ovarian cysts can occur at any age but are most common from puberty to menopause. What is the most common type of cyst? Functional or follicle cysts are the most common, are not cancerous, and most go away by themselves within 8-12 weeks. They occur when an egg, growing and developing within in the ovary, fails to be released or “ovulated”. They mainly contain fluid but…