TOP TEAM: The radiation and oncology team at Klerksdorp-Tshepong Hospital. Picture: ELFAS TORERAI
The Klerksdorp-Tshepong radiation and oncology unit has scored another first after successfully treating 1245 cancer patients since November 2009, when it was opened.
The treatment centre is the only one outside major metropolitan cities and has given relief to cancer patients in the province who used to seek treatment in Gauteng and other cities.
Equipped with state–of-the-art machines, the oncology unit offers surgical, radiation and chemotherapy services to patients, depending on the type and condition of the cancer.
Head of the unit, Dr Binu Luke said they had managed to strike a partnership with a private health institution to secure the services of specialists.
“Cancer treatment needs specialists and fortunately we have three oncologists we share with a private hospital here in Klerksdorp. They have agreed to work with us and at least one is at the unit every day,” he said.
Luke called for a vigorous cancer awareness campaign saying early detection was the key to treatment.
“It’s unfortunate that cancer awareness education is very low. Most of the patients come to hospital when the disease is advanced and under such circumstances, our treatment is palliative, just to prolong life,” he said.
Oncologist Dr Lorraine Blaauw said personnel shortages made it difficult for specialists to diagnose cancer.
“There has been a marked improvement in cervical and breast cancer treatments and we want people to approach health centres as soon as they feel something unusual,” she said.
Some of the patients in the unit said they were happy to be treated closer to their families.