March 28, 2017 Sandra

Discovery Health offers a snap guide to taking control when your child is diagnosed with cancer.

Cancer happens when cells grow out of control; normal cells turn into abnormal ones and then multiply rapidly, crowding out healthy cells. Instead of dying off and being replaced like normal cells, cancer cells live longer. Some cancers affect only a specific area, while others spread. The most common childhood cancers are unsurprisingly found in developing cells, such as blood and bone marrow (leukaemia), the immune system (lymphoma), the brain and nervous system (brain tumours and neuroblastomas), kidneys,…

March 22, 2017 Sandra

As men age, their prostates become larger causing difficulty in urinating. This is known as benign prostatic hypertrophy and is not cancerous, but one out of six men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer (PC) during their lifetime, and PC treatments can affect sexual functioning.

What is a prostate?  It is a walnut-sized gland, which is part of the reproductive system in men. It lies below the bladder and in front of the rectum. It surrounds part of the urethra, which is the tube that transports urine from the bladder to exit the body. Its main function is…

February 2, 2017 Sandra

Photos by Chantal Drummond Photography | info@chantaldphoto.co.za | www.chantaldphoto.co.za

To celebrate her 10th year of being cancer-free this year, Zelka Spoja-Vieira is throwing a survivor themed party. She outwitted breast cancer, outlasted cervical cancer and outplayed everything life has thrown at her. The mother of two shares her story with us.

Zelka Spoja-Vieira (43) lives in Constantia Kloof, JHB. She is in the process of a divorce. She has two sons, aged 14 and 11.

At the age of 33, Zelka was going about her wife duties – cleaning house…

February 2, 2017 Sandra

It has been ten years since my last smear.

What is the difference between a Catholic priest and a Women’s Health practitioner? No, it isn’t a joke. There is no screamingly funny answer. But it is a question I ask, as I sit in the confessional booth that is my desk, listening to a patient who uncomfortably divulges how long it has been since her last Pap smear. Whether she expects absolution or penance, I have no idea! The main thing, I always stress, is that she is here now, and, at that moment in time, that…

February 2, 2017 Sandra

We have all heard about the HPV vaccination and how it can save lives but how exactly does it work? Specialist gynaecologist, Dr Pam Pillay, expounds on this in light of January being Cervical Cancer Awareness Month.

Cervical cancer remains the most common gynaecological malignancy in women, and is associated with the highest cancer-related mortality rate. Its prevalence in sub-Saharan Africa remains high due to inadequate screening, lack of education, low compliance amongst women, and health inequity. Cervical cancer and pre-cancer is caused primarily by the human papilloma virus…

January 27, 2017 Sandra

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…

January 2, 2017 Sandra

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’…