Health’s fight against can­cer goes nu­clear

Vuk'uzenzele - - Front Page -


The Gaut­eng De­part­ment of Health has pumped R36 mil­lion into a new on­col­ogy fa­cil­ity that will en­sure that can­cer pa­tients in Ga-Rankuwa, Tsh­wane and sur­round­ing ar­eas have eas­ier ac­cess to treat­ment.

“I can­not con­tain my ex­cite­ment at the launch of this much-needed bio­med­i­cal equip­ment be­cause to us, pa­tient care and safety will al­ways come first,” said Health MEC Dr Gwen Ramok­gopa.

She said the first-of-its kind PET-CT imag­ing sys­tem in Africa serves as tes­ti­mony to the de­part­ment’s com­mit­ment to im­prov­ing pa­tient care.

“The fa­cil­ity brings ad­vanced on­col­ogy care to pa­tients, with a new lead­ing-edge on­col­ogy di­ag­nos­tics fa­cil­ity that har­nesses mul­ti­ple tech­nolo­gies to pro­vide high-qual­ity data quickly,” she said.

The on­col­ogy fa­cil­ity is fit­ted with new equip­ment in­clud­ing an ad­vanced Philips In­ge­nu­ity TF PET/ CT which is a nu­clear imag­ing tech­nique. It eval­u­ates the struc­ture and func­tion of cells and body tis­sue pro­vid­ing on­col­o­gists with a pa­tient-spe­cific method of treat­ment.

“The sys­tem has al­ready helped guide de­ci­sion mak­ing for early di­ag­no­sis and as­sess­ment of treat­ment ef­fi­cacy for over 105 pa­tients since its in­stal­la­tion. We are thrilled with the re­sults and the level of care we are able to pro­vide to our peo­ple with this world­class tech­nol­ogy,” said Dr George Mukhari Aca­demic Hos­pi­tal’s Head of Nu­clear Medicine Dr Trevor Mdaka.

The Hos­pi­tal serves 1,7 mil­lion peo­ple both the North West prov­ince and Lim­popo prov­inces.

MEC Ramok­gopa said the launch marked the be­gin­ning of the end to suf­fer-

ing for many can­cer pa­tients who used to be re­ferred to Steve Biko Aca­demic Hos­pi­tal in Tsh­wane, for ap­pro­pri­ate PET-CT scan di­ag­nos­tics prior to treat­ment.

“The over­load­ing of Steve Biko Aca­demic Hos­pi­tal re­sulted in tremen­dously long queues and de­lays, which im­pacted neg­a­tively on ef­fec­tive pa­tient man­age­ment,” she said.

In 2010 Steve Biko Aca­demic Hos­pi­tal saw over 12 000 pa­tients in the on­col­ogy unit but by 2016, the num­ber had dou­bled to 24 000.

“This clearly shows that the de­mand for can­cer treat­ment is in­creas­ing,” she said.

Over 100 000 South Africans are di­ag­nosed with can­cer an­nu­ally. Top can­cers among women are breast, cer­vi­cal and col­orec­tal can­cer; while prostate, col­orec­tal and

lung can­cer are com­mon in men.

“Cre­at­ing ac­cess to the lat­est tech­nol­ogy will not only cre­ate a more ef­fi­cient en­vi­ron­ment for our doc­tors, it also of­fers en­hanced health­care ser­vice de­liv­ery and ca­pac­ity for spe­cial­ist train­ing to ren­der the de­part­ment com­pet­i­tive in can­cer re­search, in­no­va­tion and the de­vel­op­ment of ef­fec­tive treat­ment modal­i­ties for can­cer,” said MEC Ramok­gopa.

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