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….

Oct 28, 2019 Word for Word Media

The three most common cancer treatments are surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy. These may be applied on their own or in a combination of one other. Icon Oncology takes a closer look at radiotherapy and its experience. Receiving radiation therapy Radiotherapy is a common form of therapeutic treatment that uses ionising radiation to eradicate or damage cancer cells. While the ideal situation is to cut the cancer out, it can be attached to the blood vessels and lymphatic tissue and this might not be possible. In this case, radiotherapy, which is a non-invasive treatment, might be recommended. Radiotherapy takes place at…

Sep 26, 2018 Word for Word Media
The chance of finding a matching bone marrow donor for a critically ill patient is just one in 100 000. But thanks to medical technology, shared international databases and the spirit of global cooperation, the South African Bone Marrow Registry (SABMR) regularly finds that perfect match. For a child or adult with a life-threatening blood disease, like leukaemia, a bone marrow transplant can offer the greatest gift imaginable:  a second chance at life.  Bone marrow transplantation is unique medical work. It involves destroying an individual’s entire immune system and replacing it with one from somebody in the general population who’s…

Jun 1, 2018 Word for Word Media
We learn about the specialised and complicated allogeneic stem cell transplants. Allogeneic transplants – obtained from a donor Allogeneic transplants, also known as an allograft or donor peripheral blood stem cell transplant (PBSCT), differ from autologous transplants in that the stem cells are not obtained from the patient’s body but from a donor who may be related, or a matched unrelated donor (MUD). This type of transplant is much more specialised than an autologous transplant and a lot more complicated. What diseases do allogeneic transplants treat? Acute myeloblastic leukaemia; acute myelogenous leukaemia (AML) Chronic myelogenous leukaemia (CML) – this disease has…