Addington Hospital treats its first cancer patient
Addington Hospital treated its first oncology patient this week. This, according to the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Health has paved the way for the full restoration of oncology services at the hospital, which will help scores of patients who need cancer treatment.
On Wednesday, a 73-year-old grandmother underwent radiotherapy treatment.
The Harding resident’s procedure began at 1pm and took place under the watchful eye of newly-appointed oncologist Dr Nokwanda Zuma and her team. It was over in less than five minutes.
The soft-spoken grandmother of four was diagnosed with cervical cancer at Port Shepstone Hospital last year.
Dr Zuma, who graduated as an oncologist from about two weeks ago after completing her training at Tygerberg Hospital in Cape Town, said the patient has locally advanced cervical cancer.
“Fortunately, it is at a stage where we can still cure her. We will give her the whole treatment - some external beam radiation, some cervical bracket therapy, which means giving radiation close to the tumour and then we’ll continue treating her. Unfortunately, because of her age, we won’t give her chemotherapy, which is the standard for her stage of cancer. Her treatment is going to continue for the next three weeks. She’ll be treated every day, from Monday to Thursday while she’s getting her radiation,” Zuma said.
The grandmother will undergo further treatment and after three weeks, will be able to go home to her family.
She will return to the hospital after six weeks for a check up and to see if she is coping with treatment.
Zuma said a follow up will be done again after three months.
“And then we’ll follow up after three months to see how she’s doing, for about five years,” Zuma said.
Following her procedure, the grandmother said she will be happy to see if the treatment leads to a cure.
“Today was the first day to test that all functions are up and running. We can confirm that one machine is now functional at Addington and patients will now be scheduled for treatment,” said Acting Head of Department, Dr Musa Gumede.
Gumede added that the second oncology machine has also arrived at Addington, and is currently being installed. “These machines are highly technological, and require software upgrades, calibration and other configurations. But we are confident that it will also soon be up and running. With one machine already working, we have already begun to alleviate pressure from Inkosi Albert Luthuli Hospital. Once the second one is up and running, we will be able to significantly reduce the burden of oncology cases in the province,” Gumede said.
Oncology services are also available at Inkosi Albert Central, Grey’s Hospital, and in the north of the province, at Ngwelezane and Queen Nandi Hospitals, through an arrangement that the Department has with the Joint Medical Holdings (JMH) Group.
Dr Gumede emphasised that the key to preventing cancer and/or successfully treating it lies in screening and testing, which ensures early detection before the cancer spreads.
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