Sep 29, 2020 Word for Word Media
Oral health related to oncology Being a cancer patient is already daunting with a long journey of treatment and recovery. Oral side effects don’t have to be an additional burden. Oral hygienist, Sarie Liebenberg, enlightens us. Effects of chemotherapy Chemotherapy affects rapidly dividing cells. These include cells of the lining of the mouth, gastrointestinal tract, bone marrow- and hair cells. Chemotherapy can’t differentiate between normal and malignant cells and sometimes injures both. It may lower your white blood cell-, platelet- and red blood cell count, known as marrow suppression. This increases the risk for infection and/or bleeding.  Infection may become…

Sep 29, 2020 Word for Word Media
Thulani Sibisi My prostate cancer marathon Prostate Cancer Foundation of South Africa’s Vice-Chairman of the Patient Affairs Board and Two Oceans Marathon winner, Thulani Sibisi, shares his prostate cancer marathon. Thulani Sibisi (67) lives in Soweto, Gauteng. He is separated from his wife and has two adult children. Urination problems In December 2012, Thulani started experiencing urination problems. He explains, “It would come out in dribs and drabs and I could feel that not all the urine had come out, as it felt like I still needed to go. This became a problem at night, as I had to go to the bathroom…

Sep 29, 2020 Word for Word Media
Physical activity as cancer prevention Dr Jacolene Kroff educates us on the underlying mechanism of how physical activity prevents cancer. The 2018 Physical Activity Guidelines Advisory Committee stated there is strong evidence that physical activity lowers the risk of colon-, breast-, kidney-, endometrium-, bladder-, stomach and oesophageal cancers.3  To understand the underlying mechanism of how physical activity prevents cancer, you need to know how cancer comes about. In all cells, the genetic make-up will determine how that cell will grow, develop and function within the body.  However, in certain cases something can go wrong with the programming of the cell responsible for…

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?…

Sep 29, 2020 Word for Word Media
Dr Nirasha Chiranjan gives us a rundown on cancer of the liver. Liver cancer is a leading cause of cancer death in both men and women. Globally, the most common type of primary liver cancer is hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). In many cases, it arises from underlying liver disease due to viral hepatitis or non-viral chronic liver disease.  The viral causes are hepatitis B and hepatitis C. The most common non-viral causes are alcohol and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. The incidence of liver cancers is expected to rise in the future due to poor lifestyle and diet.1,2  What is the…

Sep 29, 2020 Word for Word Media
Understanding thyroid cancer Specialist breast and endocrine surgeon, Dr Francois Malherbe, tells us more about the types of thyroid cancer and how they are treated. Function of the thyroid The thyroid is a gland in the neck with the main function of producing hormones integral to cell metabolism. Pathology of the thyroid gland can broadly be divided into two groups: disorders of thyroid function (hormone production) and disorders of thyroid form (gland enlargement, nodules and thyroid cancer).  Hormone abnormalities are mostly treated by medical endocrinologists while thyroid enlargement, thyroid nodules and thyroid cancer are managed by surgeons.  Increase in diagnosis Thyroid nodules are…

Sep 29, 2020 Word for Word Media
Childhood cancer in South Africa Prof Gita Naidu, Head of the Paediatric Oncology Unit at Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital, sheds light on the current standing of childhood cancer in SA. Childhood is a time of innocence and joy. Yet, unfortunately, every year more than 250 000 children and adolescents younger than 20 are diagnosed with childhood cancer globally.  According to estimates by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), almost 100 000 deaths occur annually in children and adolescents; 90% of these deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). Eighty percent of young cancer patients diagnosed in…

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…