Jul 29, 2022 Word for Word Media
Dr Daleen Geldenhuys educates us on what synovial sarcoma is, the two types you get, the causes, treatment and prognosis. Synovial sarcoma is a soft tissue tumour. It’s rare overall but more common in certain age groups. About one to three people in a million receive a diagnosis of this disease each year.  Synovial sarcoma is one of the most common soft tissue tumours in adolescents and young patients. Approximately one third of cases occur in the first two decades of life. The mean age of patients at diagnosis is approximately 30 years. It’s associated with a history of a small nodule that…

Jun 1, 2022 Word for Word Media
Dr Daleen Geldenhuys describes where sarcoma cancer forms in the body, how it can be treated and the likelihood of progression. Sarcomas are different to carcinomas. They arise from a different layer of tissue that can be best understood by knowing the embryological origin of tissues in the body. The trilaminar or three-layered disc (embryo) develops three weeks after conception. It consists of the ectoderm, mesoderm and endoderm. These layers are arranged on top of each other. The mesoderm will become the cartilage, bone, fascia, smooth or skeletal muscle, blood vessels, lymph vessels and coverings of organs, such as mesothelium….

Dec 2, 2021 Word for Word Media
Dr Daleen Geldenhuys outlines the common areas that cervical cancer may spread to and how that spread is treated. Cervical cancer is a disease caused by the human papilloma virus (HPV) and is the most common cancer affecting South African women. There are more than 100 types of HPV, 14 causing cancer but types 16 and 18 are responsible for 70% of cervical cancers. Cervical cancer is one of the cancers that can cause as much damage spreading locally in the pelvis than when it speads systemically to distant organs (metastases). Your gynaecologist will spend time trying to ascertain if the disease is confined to…

Oct 1, 2021 Word for Word Media
Dr Daleen Geldenhuys helps us understand what metastatic cancer is and how it may respond to treatment. What is metastatic cancer? The word metastatic originates from a Greek word that means: to change. It’s a dreaded word to patients and doctors alike, which indicates that the cancer has left the organ of origin. The cancer is now Stage 4 (IV) and, in most instances, not curable.  Some patients present with Stage 4 disease at the time of diagnosis and others may have a recurrence of a cancer that was previously treated.  Oligometastases refers to a limited number of metastases…

May 27, 2021 Word for Word Media
Dr Sze Wai Chan clears up the complexity of understanding lung cancer and its treatment.  Lung cancer is the leading cause of death worldwide. It’s the second commonest cancer in both sexes. It falls right behind prostate cancer in men and breast cancer in women.   When patients are diagnosed with Stage 4 lung cancer, the prognosis is usually very poor (< 1 year with traditional chemotherapy). However, in the past 10 years, the development of targeted therapy and immunotherapy has changed the survival of these patients drastically. Most lung cancers are caused by smoking (85-90% of patients). However, ‘never smokers’ can develop lung cancer, too. Never…

Feb 5, 2021 Word for Word Media
With March being Multiple Myeloma Awareness Month, Dr Philippa Ashmore gives us a rundown on this bone marrow cancer and the increasing treatment options. Multiple myeloma (MM) is a common cancer of bone marrow. It’s most often seen in older adults, with a higher rate in black patients compared to Caucasians. It’s generally a chronic disease with little chance of cure, but with increasing treatment options, the quality and quantity of life for most patients has improved dramatically over the last two decades.  How does MM develop? The myeloma cell, or plasma cell, is an immune system cell that becomes cancerous. When this happens, it…

Feb 5, 2021 Word for Word Media
Thandeka Malange expands on dermatofibrosarcoma protuberans and the imatinib treatment option through the story of a patient, Mr Tlakedi. Dermatofibrosarcoma protuberans (DFSP) DFSP is a slow-growing tumour which can grow anywhere on the body. It’s a rare type of skin cancer that involves the deeper layers of the skin and can grow into the surrounding tissues, such as fat, muscle and bone.1   Typically, DFSP presents in 20-59-year-old persons. However, it can occur at any age and males are generally more affected than females.1  It seldom spreads to other parts of the body and tends to recur at the site of…

Nov 30, 2020 Word for Word Media
Dr Rachelle Steyn goes into detail about neuroendocrine tumours and the new support group, NETSAS, that has recently formed. Neuroendocrine tumours, also known as carcinoid cancer, are rare cancers that begin in cells called neuroendocrine cells. These cells are specialised cells that secrete hormones in our bodies to keep them working normally.  Neuroendocrine cells are present throughout the body. Therefore, a neuroendocrine tumour can occur anywhere in the body. Most occur in the lungs, appendix, small intestine, rectum and pancreas.  Some neuroendocrine tumours grow slowly and others grow very quickly. Some secrete lots of hormones (functional) and some don’t secrete hormones at…

Dec 1, 2017 Word for Word Media
Dr Ian Webster explains the process of a malignant melanoma diagnosis, and when exactly one is referred to an oncologist. Approximately 1 in 50 white   South Africans will develop a malignant melanoma in their lifetime. Therefore, it’s a reasonably common skin cancer which can also affect young people. Unfortunately, the incidence of malignant melanoma in people with a pale skin is still rising worldwide. Subtypes of malignant melanoma Superficial spreading melanoma is the easiest to recognise. It is usually greater than 7mm in size, irregular edge and irregular colour, and initially grows sideways and then downwards. Nodular melanoma usually…

Dec 1, 2017 Word for Word Media
Dr Nirasha Chiranjan explains why pancreatic cancer is renowned for being one of the most lethal cancers. Pancreatic cancer has been in the spotlight due to the passing of celebrities, like Patrick Swayze, Steve Jobs, Alan Rickman and Luciano Pavarotti, who all succumbed to this illness. Renowned for being one of the most lethal cancers, it is a leading cause of cancer mortality worldwide. Despite improvements in the survival rates of most other cancers, pancreatic cancer survival rates remain relatively unchanged. Risk factors The lifetime risk of developing pancreatic cancer is 1 in 671. It can occur at all…

Jul 27, 2017 Word for Word Media
Dr Chan updates us on all the need-to-know-bladder-cancer-info. Bladder cancer is the most common malignancy involving the urinary system. It is the ninth most common malignancy worldwide. There are two broad types of bladder cancer: urothelial and non-urothelial. Urothelial bladder cancer  This is the commonest histologic type in the Western world, consisting of more than 90% of all bladder cancer. More than 50% of patients with urothelial cancer are cigarette smokers. Occupational exposure to the chemical carcinogen (the aromatic amines) is also another risk factor for bladder cancer. Common industries and jobs associated with these carcinogens are painters; printing,…

Jul 27, 2017 Word for Word Media
Dr Peter Barrow educates us on stomach and oesophageal cancers. Stomach (gastric) cancer is a cancer that starts in any part of the stomach. Oesophageal cancer is a cancer that develops in the oesophagus – the muscular tube (food pipe) that connects the mouth to the stomach. While stomach cancer occurs in both males and females in almost equal numbers, oesophageal cancer is three to four times more common in men than in women. Risk factors One of the main risk factors for developing stomach cancer is an infection with a bacterium called Helicobacter pylori. This is the same…