West Rand community to benefit from advanced cancer treatment service
A new oncology centre, equipped with highly advanced targeted radiation therapy equipment and a purpose-built chemotherapy unit, is being developed at Netcare Pinehaven Hospital.
“In the first year since the hospital opened, we have identified that there is a significant need for cancer treatment among the surrounding communities. In order to ensure we are responsive to the healthcare needs of our patients, Netcare Pinehaven Hospital’s service offering will be expanded to include a dedicated state-of-the-art oncology centre,” says Sandile Mbele, director of Netcare’s Gauteng South West region.
“Nowadays there are highly advanced treatment options for cancer, and a cancer diagnosis should by no means be considered a death sentence. With a committed team of specialists, our caring and experienced nursing staff and an extensive range of oncology therapies available, cancer patients will be assured of clinical excellence in their treatment.”
The construction project began in late September and the anticipated date of completion is mid-May 2017. The oncology centre will occupy two floors. It will comprise a radiotherapy bunker on the ground floor and a chemotherapy unit on the first floor.
The radiotherapy bunker will be located next to the existing radiology department and will host the sophisticated Elekta Synergy digital accelerator for advanced image-guided radiation therapy. This advanced treatment system makes use of advanced guidance tools and soft tissue imaging, enabling precise targeting of the diseased area.
Radiotherapy is used to destroy cancerous tumours, either on its own or in conjunction with other cancer treatments such as chemotherapy, hormone therapy or surgery.
Netcare’s executive responsible for oncology, Noeleen Phillipson, says that the Elekta Synergy equipment enables a range of highly sophisticated radiation delivery techniques that minimise radiation exposure to healthy tissues. “High doses of the treatment can be administered with great precision and rapidity for greater efficacy and less discomfort for the patient. In targeting a tumour, the technology even factors in the motion resulting from the patient’s breathing, so that the therapy is focused on the cancerous tissue with remarkable accuracy.
“Netcare’s approach to oncology services is based on the principles of the appropriate use of high-end treatment technology such as the Elekta Synergy equipment; collaboration with independent oncologists embracing best practice in oncology treatment; and treatment through a multi-disciplinary team approach including oncologists radiologists, surgeons, medical physicists, pathologists, nurses and radiotherapists on site,” Phillipson adds.
“Furthermore, Netcare’s wound care clinics are able to assist in dealing with the skin reactions that may occur as a result of radiation therapy, and physiotherapy to improve lymph drainage to make patients feel more comfortable.”
Netcare has provided radiotherapy since 1989 and now more than 3 000 cancer patients per year are treated in Netcare facilities.
The chemotherapy unit has been designed to provide a comfortable and tranquil environment for patients undergoing this type of cancer treatment, with 10 lounger chairs for patient comfort. It will also include two consulting rooms and two examination rooms. Chemotherapy facilities at Netcare hospitals provide treatment in accordance with the South African Oncology Consortium’s protocols.
“In line with Netcare’s holistic approach to cancer treatment, its service also includes dietary advice, as good nutrition supports healing, and advice on dealing with the aesthetic effects associated with cancer and its treatments, as looking well can make a significant difference to how one feels. “The emotional and psychological effects of the disease can also have a bearing on physical wellness and, in partnership with the Cancer Association of South Africa (CANSA), our facilities offer support for patients and their families,” Phillipson observes.
Mbele says that the addition of the new oncology centre represents a significant development in the comprehensive range of services Netcare offers cancer patients in the South West Gauteng region. “Patients in Krugersdorp and the West Rand will soon have improved access to leading-edge cancer therapies and supportive health and wellness services on their doorstep.”
“We apologise for any inconvenience that the construction may cause, and will certainly do our level best to keep disruptions to patients, their families and the surrounding community to a minimum,” Mbele concludes.