A purpose built state-of-the-art facility providing holistic care for the treatment of all types of cancer as well as benign lesions, has opened in Cape Town’s city bowl, bringing to fruition a specialised project that has been 10 years in the making.
The general manager of Netcare Christiaan Barnard Memorial Hospital, Chris Tilney, says: “The establishment of this modern oncology centre equipped with advanced technology enables the communities of Cape Town’s Atlantic Seaboard, Salt River and Woodstock convenient access to specialised cancer care.”
Pic: The first Elekta Versa HD linear accelerator in the Western Cape has been installed at Netcare Christiaan Barnard Memorial Hospital’s new oncology centre’s radiation unit, to offer cutting edge treatment to patients. Pictured at the new equipment are, from left to right, radiotherapists, Raheema Enus and Caitlin Hanslo; medical physicist, Hein Fourie; regional medical physicist, David Venter; radiotherapist, Eliz-Marie Adams; oncology administrator, Marvin Benjamin, and regional radiation therapy manager, Marilyn Lameyer.
Tilney explains that the hospital’s former premises in the city centre did not have sufficient space for a cancer centre offering the full spectrum of therapies required for a truly comprehensive and integrated oncology centre.
“The hospital’s new home on the foreshore provided us with the opportunity to custom design a dedicated oncology centre which accommodates the need for these services in a modern setting.
The comprehensive range of treatment solutions that Netcare Christiaan Barnard Memorial Hospital is now able to offer includes cutting-edge radiotherapy, chemotherapy and surgery, which may be used either independently or in specific combinations to ensure the best outcomes for our patients.
“A key advantage of this facility is that not only are all of these treatment options available under one roof, but also that radiation and medical oncologists, radiologists, pathologists, medical physicists and surgeons work closely together as a multidisciplinary team to determine the optimal approach for treating each patient, with radiation therapists, oncology pharmacists and oncology nurses also forming an integral part of patient treatment and care,” Tilney explains.
“The centre commenced radiotherapy in December last year and we launched a chemotherapy service in February 2018. Other specialised cancer services, such as the highly advanced da Vinci Si robotic surgical system used in the treatment of localised prostate cancer as well as surgical interventions for a number of cancers have been available at our new hospital since its opening.”
Noeleen Phillipson, Netcare’s executive responsible for oncology, says: “A cancer diagnosis is a highly personal experience, and each individual’s journey is unique. With decades of experience in treating cancer, Netcare and our extensive team of medical experts, oncology trained nursing staff and other healthcare professionals ensure that no one fights cancer alone.
“Our focus is to support patients in a manner that is respectful of the deeply personal journey of each person. We recognise that everyone will have their own way of coping, and our approach is to offer not only world class treatments but also caring support and professional guidance that are empathetic and mindful of each individual’s needs,” she says.
“Our new patient-centred treatment facility at Netcare Christiaan Barnard Memorial Hospital focuses all of the multidisciplinary team’s collective experience and expertise on developing personalised treatment options for each patient, while offering care and support according to each individual’s disease profile, needs and circumstances.”
“Together, the medical team members review each patient’s progress on an on-going basis to offer their perspectives towards finding the most suitable and effective course of treatment for the unique circumstances of each patient, enabling more effective treatment plans to be developed while remaining focused on the patient’s overall wellbeing throughout.”
The Elekta Versa HD, linear accelerator, the first in the Western Cape, is a highly advanced radiotherapy system incorporating the latest in imaging technology to ensure high-precision targeting of tumours and metastases throughout the body. Algorithms are used to calculate the optimum dose for each patient while limiting radiation exposure to healthy tissue and surrounding critical structures, which is particularly important when treating lesions in the brain.
The new chemotherapy unit has eight comfortable treatment stations as well as a bed area. During chemotherapy infusions, patients can choose between the privacy afforded by retractable screens or chat with each other, or friends and family. Each treatment station is equipped with a flat screen TV and WiFi access is also available.
First highly advanced Elekta Versa HD linear accelerator in WC
The oncology centre’s radiation facility, which is located in the basement of Netcare Christiaan Barnard Memorial Hospital, is home to the first Elekta Versa HD linear accelerator in the Western Cape. This highly advanced radiotherapy system incorporates the latest in imaging technology, to ensure high-precision targeting of tumours and metastases, and can treat a wide range of cancers throughout the body by means of external beam radiotherapy and stereotactic irradiation.
“With the Elekta Versa HD, algorithms are used to calculate the optimum dose for each patient while limiting radiation exposure to healthy tissue and surrounding critical structures, which is particularly important when treating lesions in the brain, for example. Advanced imaging and positioning capabilities result in shorter treatment times and advanced motion management means that lesions can be targeted with sub-millimetre precision,” explains Tilney.
Patient-centred chemotherapy unit
The chemotherapy unit has eight comfortable treatment stations and a bed area, and is situated on the 16th floor of the hospital. Oncology pharmacists are responsible for mixing the chemotherapy drugs in a laminar flow cabinet.
The chemotherapy infusions are administered in open areas where patients can chat to each other or friends and family accompanying them, however retractable screens offer privacy to patients should they prefer. Each treatment station is equipped with a flat screen TV for patients who prefer entertainment during infusion sessions, while WiFi access is also available.
“The oncology centre at Netcare Christiaan Barnard Memorial Hospital brings together all the necessary elements for confronting cancer through evidence-based protocols. At the same time, the centre nurtures the individuals requiring our care through support services such as counselling, nutritional advice and guidance on coping with the illness,” Phillipson adds.
“We are also planning to introduce additional support services in the near future, which we believe will contribute considerably to cementing our patient-centric care further and which patients will find of great value.
“The experience, expertise and cancer-fighting technology integral to the oncology centre are underpinned by the highest levels of care, and we believe that this is particularly powerful in supporting our patients throughout their treatment,” Phillipson concludes.
Issued by: Martina Nicholson Associates (MNA) on behalf of Netcare Christiaan Barnard Memorial Hospital
Contact: Martina Nicholson, Graeme Swinney and Meggan Saville
Telephone: (011) 469 3016
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