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INTERVIEW

Cancer patients receive comprehensive care The Oncology Unit at the Klerksdorp/Tshepong Hospital Complex outlines what services they offer to patients in the North West Province.

What is oncology?

How does one get access to the unit?

The term oncology literally means a branch of science that deals with tumours and cancers. The word “onco” means bulk, mass or tumour while “-logy” means study. Oncology is the field of medicine that is devoted to cancer. Clinical oncology consists of three primary disciplines: medical oncology (the treatment of cancer with medicine, including chemotherapy), surgical oncology (at Tshepong hospital, the surgical aspects of cancer including biopsy, staging and surgical resection of tumours), and radiation oncology (the treatment of cancer with therapeutic radiation).

Patients should be worked-up and diagnosed with cancer before they are referred to the Oncology Unit. Usually patients are referred from hospitals or general practitioners or surgeons. What are the steps followed to access the services?

Oncology depends on diagnostic tests like biopsy or removal of a piece of the tumour tissue and examining it under the microscope. Other diagnostic tests include endoscopy for the gastrointestinal tract, imaging studies like X-rays, CT scanning, MRI scanning, ultrasound and other radiological techniques and nuclear medicine techniques, etc. When a person suspects that he/she might have cancer or when that person presents with symptoms, the nearest primary health care (PHC) facility or general practitioner should be consulted. The health care workers at the PHC facility or the general practitioner will refer the person for further management and work-up, if needed. After the person has been worked-up for cancer, meaning diagnosed with cancer, the person should be referred to the Oncology Unit as a first visit. When coming to the Oncology Unit’s first-visit clinic for the first time, the patient should come with the following: referral letter, histology report, blood results and X-rays or sonar or scan.

What are the specialised services of the Oncology Unit?

This unit renders the following services to the patients of the whole of North West Province: • Chemotherapy (out-patient basis and 24hrs) • Outpatient follow-up clinic • First-visit clinic • Symptom management • Improvement of quality of life • Pain management • Palliative care • Work-up for radiation. How long has the unit been active?

The unit started functioning in October 1999 with 23 patients on an out-patient basis; services rendered were chemotherapy. Services were rendered to the whole NWP as this was the only Oncology Unit in the province.

NORTH WEST BUSINESS 2019

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Profile for Global Africa Network

North West Business 2019  

The 2019 edition of North West Business is the ninth issue of this highly successful publication that, since its launch in 2009, has establi...

North West Business 2019  

The 2019 edition of North West Business is the ninth issue of this highly successful publication that, since its launch in 2009, has establi...