Charlotte Maxeke hospital leading in cancer treatment

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Pretoria – As the global community observes World Cancer Day, Gauteng Health MEC Hope Papo has commended the Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital for the role it plays in improving the lives of children with cancer.

Papo said waiting times for new patients to be seen at the hospital have been reduced to less than two weeks, enabling the hospital to offer more prompt chemotherapy treatment to patients and increase the number of patients seen by the oncology unit.

“Charlotte Maxeke is the only hospital in the southern part of Gauteng that offers both medical and radiation oncology services. The hospital’s Radiation Oncology Unit is the largest in the country and treats about 3 500 patients a year. It is followed by Tygerberg Hospital in the Western Cape, which treats 2 500 patients a year,” Papo said.

The hospital’s Radiation Oncology Unit has four dedicated clinics to treat a variety of cancers using state-of-the-art equipment and a dedicated CT scanner on site for cancer planning.

The unit has hosted the first prostate brachytherapy seminar in the country and has a dedicated children's room for paediatric oncology cases.

About 270 children are admitted to the hospital’s Paediatric Haematology and Oncology Units annually for cancer and blood disorders.

Children of school going age receive treatment and attend classes in the hospital premises. This allows children not to lose out on education while receiving treatment.

“Whenever a child is unable to attend class, lessons are offered at their bedside. A number of learners have written their final examinations on a sick bed under the supervision of full-time teachers and succeeded in their examinations,” Papo said.

In 2013, the unit conducted a number of workshops and training, including African traditional practices on paediatric palliative care.

Meanwhile, in an effort to maximise knowledge about cancer and to decrease stigma in communities, the Gauteng Department of Health and five NGOs today launched the Voice of Cancer Anti-Stigma Project at Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital in Soweto.

The project is in partnership with PinkDrive, Campaigning for Cancer, CHOC Childhood Cancer Foundation, More Balls than Most and the Hospice Palliative Care Association.

The three-year project aims to educate, increase awareness, expose myths, reduce stigma and encourage early detection and screening through existing public health structures and programmes. – SAnews.gov.za

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