Sep 26, 2018 Sandra
We hear the remarkable story of how a partnership between a private oncology centre and a government hospital saved lives and proved the value of working together. The need and solution The East London CancerCare Oncology Centre planned to replace their linear accelerator. An alternative was needed for their patients to receive radiation therapy from February 2018 to June 2018. Frere Hospital was approached to provide a care management platform for the private patients during this time.  The process Eighty-four East London CancerCare patients were treated through 1523 treatment encounters at the Frere Hospital Oncology Unit, and were spared…

Sep 26, 2018 Sandra
We hear why honest communication is a cornerstone of good children’s palliative care. Good communication from all channels Communication is the cornerstone of all interaction and ensures relationship. However, poor communication can lead to misunderstandings, anxiety, resentment and, inevitably, a complete breakdown of trust.  Good communication practices in palliative care are crucial. Particularly when caring for very sick children and their families. This includes communication between the palliative care team members themselves; conversations with parents; communication between parents; and, most significantly, direct communication with the sick child.    A conspiracy of silence Children are among the most marginalised and vulnerable members of society…

Sep 26, 2018 Sandra
Prof Riana Bornman explains why black men have a higher risk of prostate cancer than white men in South Africa. South African Prostate Cancer Study (SAPCS) The SAPCS has revealed that black men in SA have a higher risk of prostate cancer. This is because of their elevated levels of prostate-specific antigen in the blood. This protein, known as PSA, is produced by both normal and malignant cells in the prostate gland and can signify prostate cancer risk. The focus of the research was on prostate cancer in black Southern African men of Bantu and Khoisan descent, to better understand…

Sep 26, 2018 Sandra
The chance of finding a matching bone marrow donor for a critically ill patient is just one in 100 000. But thanks to medical technology, shared international databases and the spirit of global cooperation, the South African Bone Marrow Registry (SABMR) regularly finds that perfect match. For a child or adult with a life-threatening blood disease, like leukaemia, a bone marrow transplant can offer the greatest gift imaginable:  a second chance at life.  Bone marrow transplantation is unique medical work. It involves destroying an individual’s entire immune system and replacing it with one from somebody in the general population who’s…

Sep 26, 2018 Sandra
The 5th Independent Clinical Oncology Network (ICON) conference was recently held at Century City Conference Centre, in Cape Town, and proved to be a successful and enlightening meeting. Central to ICON is the desire to increase access to affordable and sustainable cancer care, which in the modern oncology era is becoming ever more challenging. As a result, this year ICON chose to focus on outcomes and value-based care.  The intention of the meeting was to explore the important, but difficult, interface between ensuring the highest quality treatment and care for patients, while functioning within the financial limitations of the…

Jul 27, 2018 Sandra
Annie Izzard was given six months to live when she was diagnosed with bladder cancer in 1987. Thirty-one years later, she is fighting fit and even completed The Comrades Marathon in 2000. Annie Izzard (76) lives in Kloof, Kwa-Zula Natal with her husband Michael. She has two stepchildren and five granddaughters. Scotland, 1987 Annie was 45 years old when she noticed blood in her urine. The loss of blood was so bad that one day she passed out. She was rushed to the gynaecology ward at a hospital as it was thought she needed a hysterectomy.  Though after numerous…

Jul 27, 2018 Sandra
Radiation oncologist, Dr Nirasha Chiranjan, educates us on how radiotherapy is used in the treatment of soft tissue sarcoma. What are soft tissue sarcomas (STS)? STS are rare malignant tumours that arise from mesenchymal tissue (soft tissue) at any body site. They represent less than 1% of all newly diagnosed malignant tumours1. The most common sites are the extremities (limbs), trunk and retroperitoneum (abdominal cavity, usually internal)2. Therapeutic goals Before the introduction of radiotherapy for extremity STS, amputation was the standard of care which resulted in significant physical and psychological morbidity. In treating extremity STS, the major therapeutic goals are…