THE KZN Department of Health is pleased to announce that, contrary to misleading reports in the media, the first oncology patient which was booked for Radiotherapy treatment was seen at Addington Hospital earlier today. This paves the way for the full restoration of oncology services, most particularly the Radiotherapy service which came to a halt at the hospital because of challenges with the Linear Accelerator Machines while the Chemotherapy service continued smoothly. Now the hospital is placed to handle scores of patients who need cancer treatment.
Today a 73 year old female from kwaJali in Harding, underwent radiotherapy in the oncology unit at Addington Hospital. The procedure began at 13h00 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 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’ll give her the whole treatment… some external beam radiation, some cervical bracket therapy, which means giving radiation close to the tumor 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.
“After three weeks, we would have finished her treatment and she can go home. We’ll see her again after six weeks to see how she’s doing, and how she’s coping with the treatment. And then we’ll follow up after three months to see how she’s doing, for about five years.”
Shortly after undergoing the procedure, Ms Mhlamvu said: “I’ve been told that I’m the first patient to be treated at Addington Hospital since the machine was repaired. I’ll be happy if this treatment leads to a cure.”
Acting Head of Department Dr Musa Gumede said: “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. 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.”
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.
PHOTO CAPTION :
The First Radiotherapy session at Addington Hospital where one of the two Linear Accelerator machines has just been repaired and today dispensed radiation treatment to a first patient which has been diagnosed with stage 3A of Cervical Cancer.
From the left : Mr Thuso Ramlalo –Physcist ; Dr Nokwanda Zuma- Oncologist; Ms Malenta Solomon- Radiotherapist, Ms Natasha Maharaj-Radiotherapist; Ms Teresha Pillay- Radiotherapist; Ms Thobile Hlengwa- Radiotheraphy manager- Mr Philani Mazibuko- Chief Radiotherapist and 1st Patient (seated on the machine)