April 1, 2024 Word for Word Media

George Eliades shares how the taste of his favourite treat led to a diagnosis of tongue cancer and how his wife’s support gave him hope throughout treatment.

You can listen to this article below, or by using your favourite podcast player at pod.link/oncologybuddies

George Eliades (52) lives in Parys, Free State with his wife, Wilna. They have two daughters. George loved eating chocolate every night before bed until, in October 2022, the chocolate burnt his tongue. He thought it was weird so went to a dentist. It was treated as an ulcer with salt water and an oral…

April 1, 2024 Word for Word Media

Dr Mark Torres-Holmes, a head and neck surgeon and ENT, details how tongue cancer develops and the method of diagnosis.

You can listen to this article below, or by using your favourite podcast player at pod.link/oncologybuddies

There are so many parts of the body that you realise are important only when there is a problem and the tongue is no different. Imagine how getting tongue cancer would affect you? The tongue performs incredibly complex movements to speak, chew and swallow but when there is a tumour, you come to realise how a decrease in these functions would impact…

April 1, 2024 Word for Word Media

Dr Mark Torres-Holmes details the treatment decision-making process and the likely phases of treatment.

You can listen to this article below, or by using your favourite podcast player at pod.link/oncologybuddies

The best treatment decisions are made involving the patient with a multi-disciplinary team which includes the head and neck surgeon, radiation oncologist, medical oncologist, radiologist, pathologist, dental team, speech and swallow therapist, dietitian, physician, anaesthesiologist and plastic reconstructive surgeon. Patients and their cancer are discussed at a weekly meeting and the best plan for the patient is decided upon. This plan is presented to patients and another discussion…

April 1, 2024 Word for Word Media

Wasifah Noorbhai, speech-language therapist and audiologist at Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital (CHBAH), tells the story of how a larynx cancer survivor community was built.

You can listen to this article below, or by using your favourite podcast player at pod.link/oncologybuddies

Head and neck cancer, including laryngeal cancer, presents a significant health challenge in SA, with rising incidence rates. For those who undergo a total laryngectomy, a life-saving surgical procedure, the journey to recovery is multi-faceted. While the removal of the larynx (voice box) restores health, it also brings profound changes to voice and swallowing functions, impacting not…

March 31, 2023 Word for Word Media

Jocelyn Moodley tells us about her miracle surgery after being diagnosed with salivary gland adenoid cystic carcinoma and how living was far more important than her facial appearance.

You can listen to this article below, or by using your favourite podcast player at pod.link/oncologybuddies

Jocelyn Moodley (50) lives in Alberton, Gauteng with her husband. They have three adult children. Bump on palate In November 2005, Jocelyn felt a slight bump on her palate. When she went to a GP, he couldn’t see it, so he referred her to a dentist as he thought it was overgrowth of wisdom teeth….

March 31, 2023 Word for Word Media

You can listen to this articles below, or by using your favourite podcast player at pod.link/oncologybuddies

ENT surgeon, Dr Mark Torres-Holmes, expands on salivary gland cancer and why a skilled surgeon is imperative to avoid nerve damage. Function of salivary glands We have both major and minor salivary glands secreting saliva into the mouth. The minor salivary glands are many, about 8000, and are single salivary units which open directly into the mouth, mostly situated on the inside lips, cheeks, hard and soft palates. We call the major ones major because they are both bigger than the minor ones…

March 24, 2022 Word for Word Media
Cancer Heroes, a support group for head and neck cancer (HNC) patients and their families, inform us of the common questions that are asked by patients. What is HNC? HNC is a grouping of regional cancer incidents collectively known as head and neck cancer. They most commonly start with abnormal and uncontrolled growth of the squamous cells that line the mucosal surfaces of the head and neck area, like your mouth, throat, and voice box. They can also start in the salivary or parotid glands, sinus cavities, muscles, nerves and jaws in the head and neck region. It’s interesting that brain cancer isn’t regarded…

March 29, 2021 Word for Word Media
Dr Mark Torres-Holmes expands on swallowing difficulties in head and neck cancer and when the use of feeding tubes is required. Swallowing (deglutition) is a complex sequence of events, that when it goes wrong can cause significant morbidity (suffering). Cancer in sites like the mouth, pharynx (throat) and larynx (voice box) can result in difficulty swallowing. The treatments for head and neck cancer often involve surgery, radiation and chemotherapy, or combinations thereof, and any of these treatments can also cause difficulty swallowing.  Swallowing basics Swallowing is divided into four stages: oral preparatory, oral transfer, pharyngeal and oesophageal phases that…

March 29, 2021 Word for Word Media
Professional golfer, Robert Tilbury, shares the many battles and ongoing victories head and neck cancer brought him. Robert Tilbury (52) lives in Kempton Park, Gauteng. He has two daughters, Melissa and Dominique, and a grandson, Milan. Diagnosis In 2014, a lump starting to form under Rob’s jawline. After a doctor’s visit, he was put on antibiotics as the GP thought it could be glandular fever. However, the lump was still there and had gotten bigger after the course was completed. This is when Rob opted to go for a biopsy. “In November 2014, the biopsy diagnosed metastasised Stage 4 squamous cell carcinoma of the…

March 20, 2020 Word for Word Media
Andrew Hunter tells us about life after a laryngectomy: how he learnt to communicate with a tracheoesophageal voice prosthesis and recently via oesophageal speech. Andrew Hunter (59) lives in Soweto, Gauteng. He is divorced and has two adult children. Diagnosis In 2012, Andrew who had been smoking for over 20 years and drank occasionally on weekends, started to develop flu-like symptoms. His voice became croaky and deterioratedand his throat was dry and painful. He went to see a doctor who referred him to Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital. After numerous tests, including a biopsy, Andrew was diagnosed with cancer of the…

March 20, 2020 Word for Word Media
Azra Hoosen educates us on how a speech therapist supports and empowers head and neck cancer patients with speech, voice, communication and swallowing difficulties. Many patients diagnosed with head and neck cancer may present with speech, communication, voice or swallowing difficulties which hugely impact activities of daily living and quality of life.  A speech therapist is a health professional that is involved in the screening, assessment and ongoing management of individuals with the abovementioned difficulties. Assessment, treatment and beyond The speech therapist will assist with the following areas of assessment: Providing education and counselling regarding anticipated changes in communication and swallowing. Providing counselling prior to surgical procedures….

March 20, 2020 Word for Word Media
Dr Chris Joseph, an ear, nose and throat surgeon, outlines what a laryngectomy surgical procedure entails, when it is needed and the effects of it. A total laryngectomy is the complete removal of the larynx. When a portion of the larynx is removed, it’s called a partial laryngectomy. The function of the larynx The larynx functions as a valve to prevent food and liquids from entering the trachea and lungs during swallowing. It’s also necessary for normal voice and speech as it houses the voice box.  Its cartilaginous framework or “Adams Apple” can be seen and felt in the neck. When and why…