Cancer treatment boost

2016-09-06 06:00
Galima Fish, Sharon Fenwich, Marielle Martin Standhardt and Ashia Hanslo with the equipment from the Cytology Lab. PHOTO: Samantha Lee

Galima Fish, Sharon Fenwich, Marielle Martin Standhardt and Ashia Hanslo with the equipment from the Cytology Lab. PHOTO: Samantha Lee

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Travelling for those concerned about breast cancer could be a thing of the past as a pilot breast clinic is open at the Mitchell’s Plain district hospital in Lentegeur.

Opened in 2014, the clinic is a direct replica of the Breast Clinic at Grootes Schuur Hospital (GHS) and is fully equiped to do full diagnosis for those who may have concerns of breast cancer.

The clinic sees 20 people on a referal basis at the clinic between 07:00 and 12:00 every Monday.

Officials say although the clinic has been open for two years, they still see a large number of women travelling to GHS breast clinic because they don’t know the clinic exists.

Professor Eugenio Panieri, chief specialist and head of general surgery, says breast cancer is the leading cancer killer for women in the Western Cape.

“We want to have a slightly higher number of patients coming through the clinic so that we can have a greater impact and we use it as effectivley as possible,” says Panieri.

The clinic held an open day at the Hospital on Tuesday 30August. “The reason why we do this in women’s month is because it is centred around breast cancer,” he says.

The initiative began as part of a provincial governement project that highlighted breast cancer as an important health issue and priority.

“We live in a province and country where there isn’t an infrastructure for rapid diagnosis for breast problems and no screening system at all,” says Panieri.

Treatment of these cancers are also focussed on Tygerberg and Grootes Schuur hospitals.

As part of looking into a solution, the provincial government consulted the results of an analysis of the Western Cape’s breast cancer statistics and treatment report.

The report states that treatment for these cancers are also fragmented and result in some areas being good and others having no treatment facilities at all resulting in poor outcomes in diagnosis and treatment of patients.

In South Africa, the primary concern is that the diagnosis of cancer is poorly done and could take on average up to 72 days.

The clinic aims to dispell that.

The breast clinic still forms part of the GHS breast clinic, as an extension and offers on the spot diagnosis after a biopsy.

The clinic also offers mamogrammes supplied by the Pink Drive mobile truck who has partnered with the hospital in offering a complete service.

Immediate diagnosis is also made possible by the National Health Laboratory Service.

If a patient is found to have a diagnosis that is positive, they are refered to the GHS clinic for treatment.

The clinic officials says they want more Mitchell’s Plain women to make use of the service.

The office works with a system that prefers a referal from a GP or day hospital doctor and a prior booking.

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