Jul 29, 2019 Sandra
Pragashnee Pillay shares how getting a dog for her daughter, Diya, helped both her and her daughter cope with her cancer diagnoses and treatments. Pragashnee Pillay (35) lives in Tongaat, Kwa-Zulu Natal with her husband, Terence, and their five-year-old daughter, Diya, and their pet Jack Russell, Stitch. Thyroid cancer A month before Pragashnee was diagnosed with thyroid cancer, in April 2017, her daughter, Diya, asked for a baby brother. Unfortunately, that was not on the cards as Pragashnee hadn’t been feeling well for some time.  “I told her that I am currently unwell and will not be able to…

Jul 29, 2019 Sandra
A surprisingly positive experience are not words that you would think would be associated with prostate cancer. Though, this is how Darren Robertson experienced his diagnosis. He tells us more. Darren Robertson (42) lives in Harfield Village, Cape Town with his wife, Loren and their daughter, Rebecca. Health check leads to diagnosis Darren never dreamt that he would be diagnosed with prostate cancer at the young age of 40, and never expected it to have been such a positive experience.  The financial planner decided to go for a full health check, in November 2018, because he was keen to boost his Discovery…

Jul 29, 2019 Sandra
Dr Sithembile Ngidi educates us on the risk stratifying system of prostate cancer. Once a patient has been diagnosed and the tumour biological behaviour (personality) has been identified, treatment modalities are chosen, based on what risk profile the cancer falls into.  Parameters, such as prostate-specific antigen (PSA) level, Gleason score and T-staging, determine the risk profile. Other factors considered are patient choice, lifestyle, medical co-morbidities, risks and benefits, and life expectancy. I tell my patients to think of the risk profiles as dogs. Low-risk being your small friendly dogs, like a Chihuahua, which further divides into very low-risk and…

Jul 29, 2019 Sandra
Tanya Rubin explores the options of cancer survivors using a donor or surrogate to start or add to their family. Most people grow up believing that having children is a simple, easy part of life. But then enters a cancer diagnosis and infertility. Both are traumas and both raise questions that go to the very core of who we are: identity, roles, choices and life.  Sadness, loss, anger, regret, fear, guilt, anxiety and uncertainty are just some of the feelings you will face when dealing with cancer and infertility simultaneously.  Not all infertility journeys are the same. Each journey is a unique personal story,…

Jul 29, 2019 Sandra
Cancer is one of the greatest challenges facing the world today. This includes the funding of cancer treatment. Dr Jonathan Broomberg, CEO of Discovery Health, expands on this. The incidence of cancer is increasing rapidly, for reasons that are not fully understood but which appear to be linked to lifestyle.  Discovery Health’s data shows that cancer cases increased by over 45% between 2011 and 2018, with almost 8 500 new cases in 2018 alone. As a result, the Discovery Health Medical Scheme (DHMS) has seen an increase of over 100% in the costs of cancer-related treatment, from R1,5bn in 2011 to over…

Jul 29, 2019 Sandra
Mother of twin boys, Anja Berkowitz, shares how her battle with cervical cancer while pregnant ultimately birthed her new business, Amara Grace. Anja Berkowitz (35) lives in Fourways, Gauteng with her husband, Jordan, and their twin sons, David and Noah (3). Cervical cancer and choices In September 2015, about a year and a half into fertility treatment, Anja fell pregnant. Jordan and Anja were thrilled to be expecting twin boys. Their life-long dream was becoming a reality. Three months into the pregnancy, Anja experienced complications, including bleeding. After changing doctors in January 2016, the expectant mother was told she had cervical…

Jul 29, 2019 Sandra

In the previous article, we mentioned the importance of cancer advocacy to bring attention to areas of need in terms of cancer services in South Africa. Here are the eight challenges that were found in the research1. ONE: Emotional challenges  The total lack of psychosocial support services. The sparsity of psychosocial support services was reported in both the public and private oncology services in SA. Only a small number of patients could access support from a few cancer charities. The management of distress associated with cancer is a core part of the treatment protocol and is not sufficiently prioritised in SA oncology…

Jul 29, 2019 Sandra
Dr Simon Naylar, a pathologist, helps us get a better understanding of biomarkers in relation to immunotherapy. Understanding the immune system The immune system is a finely-tuned balanced harmony of cells and molecules ready to react to the threat posed to the body by infections, foreign entities and tumours.  Once the immune system detects one of these potential threats (known as an antigen), the immune defences are activated and a complex set of reactions and responses begin the process of attacking this enemy.  Many tumour cells are destroyed by the immune cells and the action of antibodies (proteins which attack foreign cells or molecules). Immunotherapy explained…