Mar 20, 2019 Word for Word Media
Haematologist, Dr Michael Cass, educates us on chronic myeloid leukaemia. What is chronic myeloid leukaemia? Chronic myeloid leukaemia (CML), also called chronic myelogenous leukaemia, is a chronic (long-term and slow-growing) type of leukaemia. Leukaemia is a cancer of white blood cells which originates in the bone marrow (blood-forming organ of the body). CML results in an increase in the number of immature blood cells in the bone marrow. These cells also spill out of the bone marrow into the blood and accumulate in the spleen.  CML is sometimes discovered incidentally in an asymptomatic patient who has a blood test done for an unrelated reason.  Symptoms When it is symptomatic,…

Feb 5, 2019 Word for Word Media

Dr Jason Naicker educates us on gallbladder cancer. What is gallbladder cancer? Gallbladder cancer is cancer that begins in the gallbladder (a small, pear-shaped organ on the right side of the abdomen, just beneath the liver). The gallbladder stores bile (a fluid made by the liver that helps digest fats). Rare cancer Gallbladder cancer is rare. In South Africa, just over 400 new cases were reported to be diagnosed in 2014, while the American Cancer Society estimated about 12 000 new cases would be diagnosed in 2018.  Gallbladder cancer is difficult to diagnose because it often causes no specific signs…

Dec 3, 2018 Word for Word Media

Nicole Capper, Tammy Taylor Mrs South Africa 2018, tells us how at the age of 25, a malignant melanoma mole was discovered on the back of her left thigh. Nicole Capper (33) lives in Broadacres, Gauteng with her two children Josh (7) and Tatum (3). She is currently separated from her husband. Routine mole removal Nicole was diagnosed, by chance, during a routine mole removal performed by a plastic surgeon. “I’ve always had lots of moles but they irritated me and hooked on my clothing. I didn’t like them aesthetically either, so I opted to have them removed. With this…

Dec 3, 2018 Word for Word Media
Dr Johann Kluge educates us on laryngeal cancer. Laryngeal cancer is a type of throat cancer that affects your larynx (voice box). The larynx contains cartilage and muscles that enable you to talk and prevents food from entering the lungs. This type of cancer can damage your voice.  The most common type of larynx cancer is squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) and entails  85-95% of all malignant lesions.  The larynx is divided in three parts (see below): Larynx Anatomical Description Incidence Supraglottis Above the vocal cords 35% Glottis The level of the vocal cords 60% Subglottis Below the vocal cords…

Sep 26, 2018 Word for Word Media
Many people don’t realise that burning red in the sun is the precursor to skin cancer. Just one bad burn can lead to years of skin issues, like skin cancer, particularly in later life. Skin cancer stats According to dermatologist, Dr Marc Roscher, there is a shortage of dermatologists in SA and majority of the population will never be screened for skin cancer.  This is extremely concerning, considering that SA has a very high incidence of skin cancer and one of the highest incidences of melanoma worldwide, as far as Caucasians are concerned. Therefore, awareness is key and early…

Jul 27, 2018 Word for Word Media
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…

Jun 1, 2018 Word for Word Media
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…

Mar 26, 2018 Word for Word Media
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…

Mar 26, 2018 Word for Word Media

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,…

Dec 1, 2017 Word for Word Media
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…

Dec 1, 2017 Word for Word Media
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…

Sep 28, 2017 Word for Word Media
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…

Jul 27, 2017 Word for Word Media
July is Bladder Cancer Awareness Month; Dr Chan updates us on all the need-to-know-bladder-cancer-info in the year 2017. Bladder cancer is the most common malignancy involving the urinary system. It is the ninth most common malignancy worldwide. There are two broad types of bladder cancer: urothelial and non-urothelial. Urothelial bladder cancer  This is the commonest histologic type in the Western world, consisting of more than 90% of all bladder cancer. More than 50% of patients with urothelial cancer are cigarette smokers. Occupational exposure to the chemical carcinogen (the aromatic amines) is also another risk factor for bladder cancer. Common…

Jul 27, 2017 Word for Word Media
Dr Peter Barrow educates us on stomach and oesophageal cancers. Stomach (gastric) cancer is a cancer that starts in any part of the stomach. Oesophageal cancer is a cancer that develops in the oesophagus – the muscular tube (food pipe) that connects the mouth to the stomach. While stomach cancer occurs in both males and females in almost equal numbers, oesophageal cancer is three to four times more common in men than in women. Risk factors One of the main risk factors for developing stomach cancer is an infection with a bacterium called Helicobacter pylori. This is the same…

Jan 27, 2017 Word for Word Media

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…

Jan 1, 2016 Word for Word Media

What are some of the symptoms to look out for? The most common symptomS to look out for are: Yellowing of the skin and eyes Itching of the skin Oily stools and dark urine Weight loss Loss of appetite Abdominal pain What are the risk factors for bile duct cancer? The chance of developing bile duct cancer is higher for smokers, those who drink alcohol excessively, older people and those with a family history of cancer. Certain health conditions such as ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease, as well as conditions that lead to chronic inflammation of the bile ducts, such…