Sept/Oct 2020 – I am strong enough

Welcome to our Sept/Oct issue. September is a busy month with many cancer and health awareness months falling into it so we have tried to cover as many as possible.

Childhood Cancer Awareness Month is one of them and we share the incredible story of Joshua Sole facing embryonal rhabdomyosarcoma in Warrior Josh. His sister, Courtney, tells us what it is like Being a sibling of a cancer patient (get your tissues ready!) Then Prof Gita Naidu informs us on the current standing of Childhood Cancer in South Africa.

Thyroid and prostate cancer awareness also fall in September so be sure to read Understanding thyroid cancer and My prostate cancer marathon. So is oral health, and oral hygienist, Sarie Liebenberg, enlightens us in Oral health related to oncology.

With the warmer weather, being active is so much easier and after reading Physical activity as cancer prevention, I hope we all will be exercising.

Enjoy the sunshine and make the best of our new normal.

Hope you enjoy this issue!

Warm wishes
Laurelle Williams


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Warrior Josh

Warrior Josh Twelve operations, over 100 days in hospital, 14 months of chemotherapy and 60 days of radiation, Warrior Josh comes out stronger and braver as ever. Joshua Sole (11) lives in Randpark Ridge, Gauteng with his parents, Mike and Lara, and his older sister, Courtney (13). Embryonal rhabdomyosarcoma  It was Lara’s intuition and maternal [...]

Courtney Sole Being a sibling of a cancer patient

Courtney Sole Being a sibling of a cancer patient Courtney Sole (13) speaks about the reality of being a sibling of a cancer patient. Being a sibling isn’t easy, especially if your sister or brother had or has cancer. My brother, Josh, had cancer and l remember exactly how l felt. Sometimes it’s fine and you [...]

Cover photo by Studio Images Photography.

Thank you to Toy Kingdom – Clearwater Mall for the use of their store.

What is robotic surgery?

Dr Hugo Van Der Merwe simplifies the process of robotic surgery for our understanding. Robotic surgery is an enabling technology that allows a surgeon to perform more patient-friendly surgery. Currently there is only one commercially available robotic system called the Da Vinci Robotic System. How does it work? Basically, the surgeon will make (4 – [...]

What happens after cancer treatment?

Dr Sarita Retief talks us through some of the emotions you will feel after cancer treatment. When you have cancer therapy (chemotherapy, radiotherapy and surgery), at some stage it might feel that it will never end. Then suddenly, you have reached the end of your treatment. That great day, you’ve anticipated for months, have arrived. [...]

Childhood cancer in South Africa

Childhood cancer in South Africa Prof Gita Naidu, Head of the Paediatric Oncology Unit at Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital, sheds light on the current standing of childhood cancer in SA. Childhood is a time of innocence and joy. Yet, unfortunately, every year more than 250 000 children and adolescents younger than 20 are diagnosed [...]

Understanding thyroid cancer

Understanding thyroid cancer Specialist breast and endocrine surgeon, Dr Francois Malherbe, tells us more about the types of thyroid cancer and how they are treated. Function of the thyroid The thyroid is a gland in the neck with the main function of producing hormones integral to cell metabolism. Pathology of the thyroid gland can broadly be divided into [...]

Cancer of the liver

Dr Nirasha Chiranjan gives us a rundown on cancer of the liver. Liver cancer is a leading cause of cancer death in both men and women. Globally, the most common type of primary liver cancer is hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). In many cases, it arises from underlying liver disease due to viral hepatitis or non-viral chronic [...]

Pregnancy after cancer therapy

Dr Chris Venter clarifies when it is safe to start a pregnancy after cancer therapy. Over the past four decades, advancements in early detection and chemotherapeutics have led to dramatic improvements in cancer survival. A large proportion of these survivors are women and men of reproductive age. One of the strongest predictors of emotional well-being is the desire [...]

Physical activity as cancer prevention

Physical activity as cancer prevention Dr Jacolene Kroff educates us on the underlying mechanism of how physical activity prevents cancer. The 2018 Physical Activity Guidelines Advisory Committee stated there is strong evidence that physical activity lowers the risk of colon-, breast-, kidney-, endometrium-, bladder-, stomach and oesophageal cancers.3  To understand the underlying mechanism of how [...]

Thulani Sibisi My prostate cancer marathon

Thulani Sibisi My prostate cancer marathon Prostate Cancer Foundation of South Africa’s Vice-Chairman of the Patient Affairs Board and former Two Oceans Marathon winner, Thulani Sibisi, shares his prostate cancer marathon. Thulani Sibisi (67) lives in Soweto, Gauteng. He is separated from his wife and has two adult children. Urination problems In December 2012, Thulani started experiencing urination problems. He [...]

Oral health related to oncology

Oral health related to oncology Being a cancer patient is already daunting with a long journey of treatment and recovery. Oral side effects don’t have to be an additional burden. Oral hygienist, Sarie Liebenberg, enlightens us. Effects of chemotherapy Chemotherapy affects rapidly dividing cells. These include cells of the lining of the mouth, gastrointestinal tract, bone [...]

Word For Word Media are the publishers of Oncology Buddies, Buddies For Life and the 2020 BIG C SURVIVOR’S GUIDE – your annual comprehensive directory of all the information that you, the patient and/or family, seek out. It is the only of its kind in South Africa.

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