Feb 7, 2018 Word for Word Media

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…

Dec 4, 2017 Word for Word Media
Lenmed Ahmed Kathrada Private Hospital, one of the eleven hospitals of the Lenmed Health Group, officially opened a state of the art cancer institute in Lenasia, this September. Lenmed is confident that the Ahmed Kathrada Cancer Institute (AKCI), through its exceptional  team of high calibre specialists and  a modern infrastructure, will make world-class cancer diagnoses and treatment options accessible to neighbouring communities. Mr Amil Devchand, COO of the Lenmed Health Group, says, “We will ensure a positive impact to the quality of lives of our patients and their families.” The new cancer institute features premium technology in a warm, patient-friendly, modern …

Dec 1, 2017 Word for Word Media
Dr Ronwyn van Eeden explains when a port for chemotherapy is needed. What is a port? It’s a device or drum, usually made from plastic or metal, that is placed under the skin of the chest. The drum is covered by a thin silicone membrane, through which a specialised needle is inserted. The port is completely under your  skin and you can usually only feel a small bump. From that a thin tube, called a catheter, runs directly into a large vein. Your chemotherapy runs through this catheter into the vein. There are different brands of ports. A topical anaesthetic…

Dec 1, 2017 Word for Word Media
If you have survived cancer, you are more than likely dealing with the unfortunate consequence – sexual dysfunction. Corina Avni offers treatment options. If your cancer was in the pelvis or involved the sex hormones, your sex life is more than likely to be a common casualty of war. The good news, however, is although many cancer survivors suffer sexual dysfunction after cancer and its treatments, the majority overcome anything from discomfort to severe pain. Why the change? Sexual dysfunction after cancer ranges from not-quite-the-same-as-before to a-no-go-zone. This is dependent on: Who you are and your pre-cancer sexual function e.g….

Sep 28, 2017 Word for Word Media
Dr Yossi Unterslak offers ways to preserve fertility before cancer treatment. Damaged caused Chemotherapies and radiation therapies can damage women’s ovaries and induce premature menopause, significantly harming fertility. Cancer patients who are set to undergo chemotherapy or radiotherapy need to consider preserving their fertility. Options are available to secure patients’ future families, but this requires immediate action after diagnosis. The entire fertility preservation process can be completed before patients start therapy; in the time they’re waiting for medical aids to authorise treatment and while they finish off work. Freezing of eggs For single women, who don’t have partners, egg…

Jul 27, 2017 Word for Word Media
Dr Cathryn Walton explains how pain management in oncology works. Pain is the most commonly feared symptom in a cancer patient. It is also   the most misunderstood symptom. Fifty percent of patients have some form of pain at diagnosis of cancer. Thirty percent will have pain during treatment but 90% have pain as a symptom at the end of life. With a better understanding of pain and the management thereof, patients can feel in control of their lives. They have an improved quality of life and functionality. The management of pain in oncology is complex. It’s more than…

Jun 5, 2017 Word for Word Media

What is pain? We know it is a short word associated with a negative feeling, which we use often: “I’m in pain”, “She/he’s such a pain”, “This is a pain”. But what does this word really mean? Professor Romy Parker enlightens us.

Pain is a complex experience common to all human beings and yet unique to each of us. The International Association for the Study of Pain (ISAP) defines pain: “as an unpleasant sensory and emotional experience, associated with actual or potential tissue damage, or expressed in such terms. Pain…

Mar 29, 2017 Word for Word Media
There are many different types of cancers, which previously had very dismal prognoses and bad outcomes, for which immunotherapy has changed the outlook of the future. It is fast becoming a new beacon of hope to many patients with advanced and aggressive cancers. So far, it has been approved for treatment of melanoma, lung, renal   cell carcinoma, Hodgkin’s lymphoma, bladder cancer, head and neck cancers, and the list grows each day. Immunotherapy is also under investigation for treatment of triple-negative breast cancer, gastric cancer, Merkel cell cancer, soft tissue sarcomas, and pancreatic cancer amongst many other different cancer types….

Mar 28, 2017 Word for Word Media

Choosing a suitable site is especially important when treating a child with cancer, and all measures to try and reduce the stress and anxiety related to this event for the child are vital. Dr Wainwright, a paediatric oncologist, explains how this is done as well as highlights the importance of looking after the veins and preserving them for future use. 

For both parent and child, choosing a vein for venous access is an important issue. Counselling is a must – explaining to both parent and child what is going to be done, how and…

Jan 2, 2017 Word for Word Media

Currently, doctors only use three primary senses to diagnose a patient: hearing, sight, and touch. But, why use three senses when we could be using four? This is where our furry friends come in, adding the fourth sense – olfaction – to help diagnose cancer. In no way is it suggested to replace medical equipment or diagnosis; dogs are simply adding to the equation.

Searching for cancer through volatile organic compounds (VOCs) is a relatively new idea in science, with huge possibilities. Published studies from all over the world are proving accuracy levels that are beyond current available machines’…

Dec 1, 2016 Word for Word Media

One can only imagine what a child cancer patient goes through when being ‘prodded and pricked’ to find a vein in order to receive repeated infusions. Luckily, the children being treated at The Gold Fields Paediatric Haematology and Oncology Out-Patient Unit at Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital, in Soweto, don’t have to endure such a traumatic and painful procedure anymore, thanks to Abela Africa Medical and ICU Medical as they recently donated a VeinViewer Flex machine to the unit. What is the VeinViewer Flex? VeinViewer Flex is a highly portable vascular access imaging device that can help find the optimal venipuncture…

Dec 1, 2016 Word for Word Media

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…

Sep 21, 2016 Word for Word Media

Throat cancer, in particular oropharynx cancer, is such a concerning cancer now, because it is one of the few head and neck cancers with a rising incidence, unlike others which are decreasing due to the general decrease in smoking worldwide. Currently more than half of oropharynx cancers are caused by the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV).

What is the oropharynx? It is the middle part of the throat behind the mouth. Most cancers start in the palate tonsils (or where they used to be) and the base of the tongue.

HPV is the most…

Sep 1, 2016 Word for Word Media
Dr Cathy Agnew explains the importance of a good doctorpatient 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 script…