Jun 1, 2022 Word for Word Media
Can your tumour get bigger before it gets smaller during treatment? Dr Ronwyn van Eeden explains the pseudo progression phenomenon.  Immunotherapy has revolutionised cancer treatment over the past few years by leading to significant overall survival benefits in patients with advanced cancer. Immunotherapy works by activating the body’s own immune system to fight cancer. Unlike conventional therapies, such as chemotherapy, that cause shrinkage of tumours or cancer cells, because of the unique way in which immunotherapy works it can cause a different or atypical kind of response in cancer cells.  Pseudo progression is one of these atypical responses. The exact mechanism by which it…

Mar 28, 2022 Word for Word Media
Oncology pharmacist, Lailaa Cajee, helps us understand the importance of drug safety in the home. The development of numerous oral chemotherapy drugs (OCDs) has led to a new paradigm in cancer treatment. In 1995, there were only six oral chemotherapy drugs. This number grew to a whopping 90 in 2018. It’s estimated that more than 25% of the 400 cancer drugs in the pipeline are oral.  Whilst these medications are convenient and allow flexibility, they are not without complications or risks. How and where you store your OCDs affects how well the drug works. Drug safety in the home is crucial for the…

Feb 5, 2021 Word for Word Media
Dr Lizette Louw informs us how PSMA therapy is a rapidly evolving area for metastatic prostate cancer treatment. What is nuclear medicine? Nuclear medicine is a specialised area consisting of two arms: nuclear imaging which uses small amounts of gamma radiation to examine organ function, and nuclear therapy using alpha or beta particles.  In nuclear imaging, a radioactive atom is linked to specific molecules to guide imaging of specific organ systems. Similarly for nuclear therapy, a therapeutic radioactive atom is linked to various specific molecules which is absorbed by the tumour cells and the radiation is deposited within the…

Nov 30, 2020 Word for Word Media
Many patients undergoing chemotherapy suffer side effects in silence. Dr Sarita Retief explains that this isn’t how it should be and implores patients to voice their chemo side effects. When seeing patients for their second chemotherapy session, I naturally ask them how the first session was to see if they had any chemo side effects. These are examples of the extreme different responses that I get:  Mrs A will say that she did not feel anything at all. She went on with her normal life as if nothing happened. She even wonders if the Sister might have forgotten to…

Sep 29, 2020 Word for Word Media
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. All your friends and family celebrate with you. Though, for some strange reason, it’s not all just joy, but a strange, eerie feeling is also there, a ‘So, what happens now?’ feeling. You are not alone. Everybody who undergoes treatment feels like that. While…

Sep 28, 2020 Word for Word Media
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 – 6) small incisions into the abdomen of the patient. Small ports are then placed through these incisions into the abdominal cavity. The surgeon will then connect, or dock, the robot onto these small ports. Fully-wristed instruments and a high-definition 3D camera are then introduced…

Jul 29, 2020 Word for Word Media
Dr Sarita Retief explains what to expect when you go for your first chemotherapy cycle. If there is one thing that COVID-19 has taught us all, is that it is very difficult to deal with an unknown future. And that is what everyone must go through at the start of chemotherapy. The day before anxiety creeps up and the night before you can hardly sleep. On the day that you start treatment, you are already emotionally exhausted. But then, after going through the first cycle, most people find that it was not nearly as bad as what they thought…

May 29, 2020 Word for Word Media
Dr Sarita Retief explains why chemotherapy is still the best oncology treatment that is available (for now). When I see a newly diagnosed patient for the first time, I often get these words, “I don’t want chemotherapy” within the first few sentences spoken. As if the patient couldn’t wait to get it off his/her chest. This is something people talk about casually over a dinner date or at braais. Usually after they have witnessed or heard about somebody dying of cancer; they then declare that they never want to go through such suffering and would never take such treatment…

May 29, 2020 Word for Word Media
We learn the ins and outs of the colostomy surgery procedure. What is a colostomy? A colostomy is an operation that creates an opening for the large bowel to exit through the abdominal wall. The end of the large bowel is stitched to the skin to form an opening, called a stoma. Why do I need a colostomy?  A colostomy may be needed if, as the result of an illness, injury or problem with your digestive system, or you can’t pass stools through your anus. You may have a colostomy to treat: Colon/rectal cancer Crohn’s disease  Diverticulitis Anal cancer Vaginal…

Mar 20, 2020 Word for Word Media
The landscape of radiotherapy is changing rapidly and the many innovative developments are making this an exciting field of medicine. Dr Mariza Tunmer, a specialist radiation oncologist, tells us more. As technology is improving across all aspects of medicine, radiotherapy (RT) too is advancing in numerous ways. Wilhelm Röntgen was the first to discover electromagnetic radiation in 1895.   Around the same time, Marie Curie and her husband, Pierre, discovered the radioactive decay of certain elements. Over the next decades, the cancer-treating properties of irradiation were discovered and described, and the scientific discipline of radiotherapy was born. In more recent times, innovative technologies have been revolutionising radiotherapy…

Feb 3, 2020 Word for Word Media
Dr Carrie Minnaar informs us about hyperthermia, a new treatment in South Africa, and its benefits when used alongside chemotherapy and radiation. Hyperthermia explained Hyperthermia describes an increase in the tumour temperature above the normal physiological temperature range. A complex set of reactions of the tumour cells and environment in response to the heat results in improved tumour destruction.  How does it help? Possibly the most important response is the change in blood flow to the tumour. In an attempt to lower the temperature at the tumour site, the body responds by increasing the blood flow and oxygen to the heated area. While this may…

Nov 27, 2019 Word for Word Media
The careful handling and transport of chemotherapy drugs is fundamental to the treatment patients receive. We hear more about how Medipost Pharmacy gets this right. From the time an oncology practice places an order with the dispensing pharmacy until the moment it reaches the practice where it will be mixed and administered to patients, the highest level of care is required to ensure that the right medicine reaches its destination safely, reliably, and in optimal condition.  Supplier of choice Martie Duminy, a pharmacist at Hermanus Oncology, says that she has had an association of some six years’ standing with Medipost Pharmacy….