Head of Department: Dr Ayesha Hoosen
Medical Officers: 7
Oncology Clinic – 018 406 4403
Oncology Ward – 018 406 4723/4461
Radiation Oncology Unit – 018 406 4779
What is oncology?
The term oncology literally means a branch of science that deals with tumours and cancers. The word “onco” means bulk, mass, or tumor 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 tumors), and radiation oncology (the treatment of cancer with therapeutic radiation.
What are its specialised services (what does the unit offer)?
This Unit renders the following services to the patients of the whole of NWP:
- Chemotherapy (outpatient basis and 24 hrs)
- Out Patient Follow-up clinic
- 1st Visit clinic
- Symptom management
- Improvement of quality of life
- Pain Management
- Palliative Care
- Work up for Radiation
How long has the unit been active?
This Unit started functioning in October 1999 with 23 patients on an outpatient basis, services rendered were chemotherapy. Services were rendered to the whole NWP as this was the only Oncology Unit in the Province.
How does one get access to the unit (through grooming or straight)?
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.
Could you please explain 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
- X-rays / sonar / scan
What type of cancer diagnosis do you admit at your unit?
All types of cancer, except some haematology (blood) cancers.
Are there any competent skilled radio therapist and oncologist?
How many are they and what do they specialise with?
There are 2 qualified and skilled full time Oncologists at the unit.
What machines do you use at the unit?
Diagnostic Radiology Machines
How effective are the machines in assisting with speedy recovery of the patients?
How many survivors has the unit produced since it has been active?
There are a large number of patients that are still being follow-up for long term survival.
How long do you take to give treatment to patients after diagnosis?
The ideal situation is one to two weeks after diagnosis, but our biggest challenge is late referrals and a delay in receiving all the necessary tests and investigations.
What makes the staff in the unit win (succeed)?
The Oncology team is very dedicated, knowledgeable and skilled.
The staff members have a positive attitude and there is very good team cohesion.
The staff members are passionate about the Oncology patients.