July 27, 2018 Sandra
We learn about the different types of salivary gland tumours, both benign and malignant. Salivary gland tumours are rare cancers in the head and neck region. They can develop in any of the different sub-regions of the head and neck, with the most frequent (80-85%) encountered in the parotid. The parotids are the largest of the salivary glands, located just in front and below the ears. Parotid gland tumours are often benign (non-cancerous) (75%). Tumours arising from the submandibular gland, sublingual gland, or the minor salivary glands are usually more likely   to be malignant (cancerous).  The most common…

June 1, 2018 Sandra
Dr Johann Kluge explains the causes, symptoms and treatment of mouth cancer. Mouth (oral cavity) cancer is a subdivision in the head and neck region. The mouth is confined by the anatomical borders that stretch from the lips (anteriorly) to include the tongue, floor of the mouth, cheeks, hard palate and gums (or gingiva). What is the incidence of mouth cancer? It’s the 11th most common malignancy. More than 90% of cancerous growths  in the mouth are squamous cell carcinomas, with the remainder being rarer tumours or tumours developing from the small salivary glands. Current oral cancer  statistics (US data): Overall…

March 26, 2018 Sandra
Dr Johann Kluge explains the shift of clinical presentation of throat cancer. Throat cancer (oropharyngeal carcinoma) refers to cancers developing in a specific subset in the head and neck region (base of tongue (BOT) and tonsils). The most common type of cancer in this region is squamous cell carcinoma, although lymphoma is also encountered. Pre-1990 era vs. 2000-era During the past decades, the clinical presentation changed dramatically, with the ‘pre-1990 era’ being tobacco-related oropharyngeal cancers and the ‘2000-era’ and onwards regarded as human papillomavirus (HPV)-related. In the past two decades, HPV was identified as a direct cause of cancer…

March 26, 2018 Sandra

Multiple Myeloma Awareness Month is March; with that Dr Ronwyn van Eeden underlines what type of cancer it is, how it is caused and treated. What is multiple myeloma? Bone marrow is a spongy type material found inside our larger bones, such as the sternum, ribs, skull, hips and the long bones of arms and legs. Plasma cells are a type of white blood cells that are made in our bone marrow. Plasma cells form part of our immune system that is responsible for protecting us against infection and disease. They do this by producing different types of antibodies/immunoglobulins. Thus,…

December 1, 2017 Sandra
Dr Ian Webster explains the process of a malignant melanoma diagnosis, and when exactly one is referred to an oncologist. Approximately 1 in 50 white   South Africans will develop a malignant melanoma in their lifetime. Therefore, it’s a reasonably common skin cancer which can also affect young people. Unfortunately, the incidence of malignant melanoma in people with a pale skin is still rising worldwide. Subtypes of malignant melanoma Superficial spreading melanoma is the easiest to recognise. It is usually greater than 7mm in size, irregular edge and irregular colour, and initially grows sideways and then downwards. Nodular melanoma usually…

December 1, 2017 Sandra
Dr Nirasha Chiranjan explains why pancreatic cancer is renowned for being one of the most lethal cancers. Pancreatic cancer has been in the spotlight due to the passing of celebrities, like Patrick Swayze, Steve Jobs, Alan Rickman and Luciano Pavarotti, who all succumbed to this illness. Renowned for being one of the most lethal cancers, it is a leading cause of cancer mortality worldwide. Despite improvements in the survival rates of most other cancers, pancreatic cancer survival rates remain relatively unchanged. Risk factors The lifetime risk of developing pancreatic cancer is 1 in 671. It can occur at all…

September 28, 2017 Sandra
Many specialists and cancer advocates are sounding the alarm over a rise in head and neck cancers, such as cancers of the throat or oropharynx, transmitted by the human papillomavirus (HPV) that is possibly linked to oral sexual habits. Are you at risk? Lack of awareness These symptoms (in red block below) are some of the early warning signs of head and neck cancers, including cancers of the mouth, lips, throat, larynx (voice box), nose, and salivary glands. Professor Jos Hille, an oral, head and neck pathologist at the National Health Laboratory Service (Tygerberg) and honorary secretary of the…