Dec 2, 2021 Word for Word Media
Gynaecologist, Dr Sumayya Ebrahim, details what a cone biopsy is and why this special cervical biopsy is needed. A biopsy of the cervix is advised generally when a Pap smear detects abnormal cells. Because a Pap smear is only a screening test, a biopsy gives more accurate information regarding the extent of the abnormality.  A cervical biopsy is usually done in conjunction with a colposcopy (using a microscope and special stains to examine the cervix). This information will then inform decisions about further treatment. Types of cervical biopsies Punch biopsy – This is usually done with a colposcopy. The instrument used to remove a…

Aug 2, 2021 Word for Word Media
Dr Nirasha Chiranjan, a radiation oncologist, revises the epidemiology, risk factors, clinical manifestations and diagnosis of carcinoma of the cervix. South Africa has a high incidence of carcinoma of the cervix and it is a leading cause of cancer mortality. of all gynaecological cancers,  cervical cancer is the focus of the most government public policy work and active intervention. This is largely because cervical cancer is the only gynaecological cancer that can be detected in a precancerous stage through population screening.  In nations that run organised screening programmes, cervical cancer screening has been one of the great public health successes of the…

Sep 29, 2020 Word for Word Media
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 to become a parent. Addressing the patient’s fertility concerns is important prior to, but also during and after cancer therapy.  Common questions that arise are: What effect will cancer treatment have on my fertility? Will the cancer treatment increase my risk of having an abnormal child?…

Feb 3, 2020 Word for Word Media
Most women today know what a Pap smear is or have had one or even a few. Dr Sumayya Ebrahim educates us on this procedure. What is a Pap smear? It’s a screening test for the early detection and screening of cervical cancer. It’s named after a Greek doctor, Dr Papanicolou, who first published his work on this in 1928. The cervix is the part of the female reproductive organs that is also typically called the mouth of the uterus. Cervical cancer is the most common gynaecological cancer seen in women in SA under the age of 40. The tragedy is…

Sep 30, 2019 Word for Word Media
September is Gynaecological Cancer Awareness Month; Dr Nirasha Chiranjan educates us on the two most common gynaecological cancers in South Africa. Gynaecological Cancer Awareness Month aims to encourage women to be aware of the signs and symptoms of the disease and preventive strategies.  It’s a month that encourages women to openly speak about their health without shame or embarrassment.  It highlights the need for better sex education amongst both men and women.  Early detection can lead to effective treatment and a better prognosis. What are gynaecological cancers? Malignancies that develop in a woman’s reproductive tract. These include cervical-, ovarian-, vulvar-endometrial- and…

May 30, 2019 Word for Word Media
Dr Sumayya Ebrahim addresses the important questions around breastfeeding and ovarian cancer. The benefits of breastfeeding for both mom and baby are widely proven and accepted. The anti-cancer benefits of breastfeeding, in relation to breast cancer, are also firmly established.  The World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends exclusive breastfeeding in the first six months of life for the health of both mother and child, and continuation of breastfeeding for two years and beyond, alongside other food and drinks. Ovarian cancer Ovarian cancer ranks fifth in cancer deaths among women. It’s responsible for more deaths than any other cancer of the female…

Jul 27, 2018 Word for Word Media
This Women’s Month we give women behind the masks – female oncology pharmacists – the applause they deserve. Who is she? The environment appears cold, morbid and sterile. She is cloaked behind a glass screen whilst meticulously manipulating syringes and other instruments to achieve accuracy and sterility for her patient’s life altering medication.  She is driven by many things: an unwavering emotional desire to be part of the patient’s cancer journey and her need to contribute to society in a meaningful way. She is also cognizant of the profession she represents and her role in inspiring others to join and add…

Feb 2, 2017 Word for Word Media

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…

Dec 10, 2012 Laurelle Williams

What is an ovarian cyst? Ovarian cysts are fluid-filled sacs or pockets that occur within, or on the surface of, the ovary. Women generally have two ovaries, one on either side of the uterus. Ovarian cysts can occur at any age but are most common from puberty to menopause. What is the most common type of cyst? Functional or follicle cysts are the most common, are not cancerous, and most go away by themselves within 8-12 weeks. They occur when an egg, growing and developing within in the ovary, fails to be released or “ovulated”. They mainly contain fluid but…