Jul 29, 2022 Word for Word Media
Dietitian, Berna Harmse, educates us on nutritional status and the outcome of cancer, and offers tips for nausea. Being diagnosed with cancer is a devastating event, and most people living with cancer, experience the day they get the news as a life-changing moment. Even after working in the field of oncology nutrition for 18 years, seeing a newly diagnosed person is always a humbling experience. After the news has settled in, and treatment plans have been laid out, the day-to-day management of your emotional and physical well-being is of utmost importance. The effects of cancer and its treatment can…

Jun 1, 2022 Word for Word Media
Lailaa Cajee offers simple safety measures to be incorporated into your daily life to safeguard those around you when managing bodily fluids during chemotherapy. Chemotherapy is a drug that destroys cancer cells but if it comes into contact with someone who doesn’t have cancer, it can be harmful to their healthy cells.  Chemotherapy leaves the body through fluids, such as urine, stool, vomit, sweat, saliva, semen and vaginal fluids. It’s still present in your system for up to seven days after IV treatment, and if you’re taking oral chemotherapy tablets then its present for the entire duration of that treatment….

Mar 29, 2021 Word for Word Media
Dr Michelle Casey, a specialist anaesthetist, explains the rare condition of malignant hyperthermia during anaesthesia and the precautions taken to avoid it. What is malignant hyperthermia (MH)? Malignant hyperthermia is a potentially life-threatening condition which can occur under general anaesthesia (state of unconsciousness induced by medication to facilitate surgery) in certain people who have a genetic disorder of their muscles.  It’s triggered by the use of specific medications that are commonly used for general anaesthesia, namely inhalational anaesthetic agents (the gases that are inhaled and keep you asleep during your operation), and a specific type of muscle relaxant called suxamethonium.  When these medications are used in a person…

Nov 30, 2020 Word for Word Media
Dr Michelle King expands on how our emotions can increase or decrease our pain experience. A common misconception is that if you’re feeling pain it means you must have hurt yourself. With cancer, pain experience can make you fear that the cancer has spread. However, it’s this very fear that can cause your pain levels to rise.  Your experience of pain is caused by, not only physical factors, but emotional and social factors too.  Most people have all experienced how stress can trigger a headache or make their stomach feel in knots. When you are worried about your finances or your ability to work, your pain can…

Nov 30, 2020 Word for Word Media

Cervical cancer survivor, Rae van Nieuwenhuizen, shares how she dealt with radiation dermatitis. Rae van Nieuwenhuizen (55) lives in Hillcrest, Kwa-Zulu Natal with her husband. They have two adult children.  Stage 2B cervical cancer I was diagnosed in October 2016 with Stage 2B cervical cancer at age 51. The tumour I had was roughly 5x4x2cm in size and was starting to infiltrate the walls of the cervix. My oncologist and gynaecologist proposed radiation, chemotherapy and intracavitary brachytherapy.   Despite many possible side effects being explained to me, I have such zest for life and decided to go ahead and deal with things should they occur.  The…

Jul 28, 2020 Word for Word Media
Radiation oncologist, Dr Yastira Ramdas, unpacks the impact of radiodermatitis on cancer patients. Radiation therapies are a common treatment modality for patients diagnosed with cancer, used exclusively or in combination with other types, such as surgery and chemotherapy.  Radiotherapy administers high-energy photons at or near the tumour site, killing cancer cells by creating free radicals in the cells leading to cell death.1,2 One of the common side effects of radiation therapy is radiodermatitis (radiation dermatitis, radiation-induced skin reactions) by exposure to high-energy photons which is experienced by 95% of patients.  Grades of radiodermatitis Common types of radiodermatitis include: moist and dry desquamation (peeling), skin necrosis (dead…

Sep 30, 2019 Word for Word Media
Specialist radiation oncologist, Dr Maríza Tunmer, educates us on radiotherapy-related skin reactions and how to prevent and manage them. Radiation dermatitis Radiation dermatitis is the medical term for skin reactions related to radiotherapy and is a common side effect experienced by patients receiving radiotherapy as part of their cancer treatment. It’s the result of inflammatory effects in both the superficial layer of the skin (epidermis) as well as the layers just beneath this (dermis). These effects may impact a patient’s quality of life and may cause discomfort and pain. It may even result in interruptions in treatment and this may negatively affect control of the…

Feb 7, 2018 Word for Word Media

Gastrointestinal toxicity can occur following irradiation of thoracic, abdominal, or pelvic malignancies if gastrointestinal structures are located within the radiation therapy (RT) field. Dr Sudeshen Naidoo explains further.

The incidence and severity of RT side effects depend upon the site, volume of tissue exposed, and treatment schedule, including total dose, dose per fraction, and type of radiation. Other risk factors for radiation-induced GI toxicity include the use of concomitant chemotherapy. 1. Oesophagitis Normal oesophageal mucosa undergoes continuous cell turnover and renewal. Acute radiation oesophagitis is primarily due to effects on the basal epithelial layer. This causes a thinning  of…