June 1, 2018 Sandra
Needless to say cancer treatment is traumatic for the patient and their loved ones. So, it may be outlandish to tell them to laugh through it, but laughing can help. Laughter therapy  Doctors in America have begun to include laughter therapy to compliment traditional treatments for cancer. Many hospitals around the world are now embedding ways to promote laughter in their treatment regime. Patient visits to a hospital area where laughter therapy is conducted is promoted, while laughter clubs are found outside of medical facilities too.  Benefits of laughing A good belly laugh comes packed with numerous benefits. It…

June 1, 2018 Sandra
We learn about the specialised and complicated allogeneic stem cell transplants. Allogeneic transplants – obtained from a donor Allogeneic transplants, also known as an allograft or donor peripheral blood stem cell transplant (PBSCT), differ from autologous transplants in that the stem cells are not obtained from the patient’s body but from a donor who may be related, or a matched unrelated donor (MUD). This type of transplant is much more specialised than an autologous transplant and a lot more complicated. What diseases do allogeneic transplants treat? Acute myeloblastic leukaemia; acute myelogenous leukaemia (AML) Chronic myelogenous leukaemia (CML) – this disease has…

June 1, 2018 Sandra

Andy Grant tells us about losing his mother to leukaemia at the age of 12, losing his lower limb while serving as a Royal Marine in Afghanistan, becoming the fastest one-legged amputee in the world over 10km, and wining gold at the 2014 Invictus Games.

Andy Grant (29) lives in Liverpool, United Kingdom. He has one child, Alba. When Andy was told his lower limb had to be amputated in 2010, due to stepping on an improvised explosive device (IED) while serving in Afghanistan as a Royal Marine in 2009, his…

March 26, 2018 Sandra

Sex is a powerful emotional experience and improves general health and well-being. Though, if you’re over the age of 60, sex can present challenges. Nonetheless, it’s possible, with better understanding and an open mind, for couples to have a physically and emotionally fulfilling sex life. Natural changes Naturally, sex might be different  when you’re 70 or 80 than when you’re twenty something. Your body has changed and your sexual functioning might not be the same. On the other hand, as an older adult, you may feel wiser than you were in your youth, and know what works best for you…

March 26, 2018 Sandra

Kate Paterson (31) recollects the days of her autologous stem cell transplant and high-dose chemotherapy. The first time I was allowed outside was a Sunday morning. The skeleton staff nurses delivered the results of my 2am blood tests without ceremony. I snuck a peek. My white cell count had been building slowly but fiercely from a flat 0 to a magnificent 1. This meant many things to me. I would be able to see the faces of my family again, no longer hidden behind masks. And, soon, I would be going home. But, at that moment, it meant I could…

February 7, 2018 Sandra

An immuno-oncology drug, Pembrolizumab, recently received regulatory approval by the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority. Dr Ronwyn van Eeden tells us more about the new drug.

Pembrolizumab has been registered in SA for two types of cancers. The first is a type of lung cancer, called non-small cell lung cancer. It’s registered for patients who have failed or     progressed after initial treatment, such as chemotherapy. Usually the drug works better if the expression of PD-L1 (programmed cell death ligand-1) on the cancer is more than 51% as shown in clinical trials. The amount of PD-L1 on the…

February 7, 2018 Sandra

Retired stem cell co-ordinator, Mary Farrell, explains the ins and outs of an autologous stem cell transplant.

What is an autologous stem cell transplant? An autologous stem cell transplant is also known as high-dose chemotherapy with stem cell rescue. The word autologous (of cells and tissues) means obtained from the same individual. Not from a donor. The cells of the individual are collected in advance and stored. Then after high-dose chemotherapy is given to treat the underlying disease, the cells are returned to ‘rescue’ the patient’s bone marrow. What illnesses are autologous stem cell transplant used for? An autologous…