It is not often we get to appreciate the things fathers do for their children except on Father’s Day. A day where kids can’t wait another moment to give Dad a hand-drawn card and start lavishing special love and attention on the man who gave them life. Most often it takes a true disaster in our lives’ to help us appreciate the blessings we have been missing all along. To appreciate this day we share the story of Shaun Thornhill in his own words, whose 1 year old daughter was affected by cancer. I will never forget what I said to my wife early in the year 2016 before it all started. Life was really busy with work, renovation projects at home and every other spare time was sucked up by the kids. I remember sitting an entire Saturday at a school chess tournament with my son Blake. I was frustrated as it felt like I never had any time to do what I wanted to do. I remember saying to my wife, I am sick of not having any time to do anything As I said that, I had a bad feeling inside and realized life could be a lot worse. Soon after that life would never be the same again. 2016 will be a year I will never forget, my son Blake was 7 years old, my daughter Peyton 5 years old and my youngest daughter Shaye had just turned 1. Our baby girl Shaye started to suffer badly from constipation; it got so bad she was admitted into the hospital, after our second time in hospital for constipation, my wife was very persistent with the doctors that something was not right, fortunately we were blessed with fantastic doctors who soon realized what was wrong with Shaye. Forever in my mind, I will dread the day the Paediatric surgeon sat my wife and I down and explained, Shaye needed to go to Cape Town Red Cross Hospital ASAP to have a “tumour” removed from below her coccyx. Reality never really hit me until the next day, I remember breaking down in tears in front on my boss when I had to explain what was going to happen. From then onwards I never was concerned about my own . . .
An educational laparoscopic colorectal cancer workshop which involved live procedures to demonstrate the latest in surgical techniques, was held at Netcare Pretoria East Hospital recently. A total of 55 surgeons and interventional specialists from the private and public sectors in South Africa attended the workshop hosted by the hospital and highly experienced local laparoscopic surgeon, Dr Michael Heyns. The specialists were provided with the opportunity to participate in an interactive discussion during two live procedures. According to Dr Heyns, who has participated in a number of advanced laparoscopic training courses in Europe and locally, minimally invasive laparoscopic procedures are increasingly being used to excise and treat colorectal cancers, and new approaches and imaging technologies are continuously being introduced to assist in improving outcomes. He said the workshop, which was CPD (Continuing Professional Development) accredited, largely aimed to demonstrate how advanced new imaging and visualisation techniques and technologies assist in the diagnosis and guidance of laparoscopic colorectal procedures. It focused in particular on the clinical applications of indocyanine green (ICG) enhanced fluorescence in this type of surgery. Specialists had the opportunity to ask questions and share their knowledge and expertise during this interactive forum. “The ICG fluorescence imaging system is proving safe and adding significant value in diagnosing, planning and decision-making in colorectal laparoscopic procedures, and is increasingly being used in appropriate cases internationally. “As a result of the advantages it offers, including enhanced visualisation of blood supply, this approach may well become a standard for appropriate cases in the near future,” added Dr Heyns. Dr Heyns, who offers regular laparoscopic colorectal cancer workshops at Netcare Pretoria East Hospital for specialists across South Africa, said that such workshops . . .
It is well known that heart rhythm disorders (arrhythmias) occur in adults, but few are aware that it is a significant problem among many South African children as well. Children may be born with a heart disorder that causes electrical and functional problems in the heart and remain unaware into adulthood that they have a potentially dangerous health problem. “There needs to be much greater awareness of heart rhythm disorders and congenital heart disease, which is a common birth defect occurring in children and can cause problems with the efficient functioning of the heart,” says Dr Adele Greyling, a paediatric cardiologist who practises at Netcare Greenacres Hospital in Port Elizabeth. She was speaking during World Heart Rhythm Week, which runs from 4 to 10 June 2018. Dr Greyling, who is the only paediatric cardiologist in the country to have been specifically trained in electrophysiology ? the study of electrical problems of the heart and heart rhythm disorders – says that many children with congenital heart defects go undiagnosed and take these conditions into adulthood. She says that untreated congenital heart defects and arrhythmias may be detrimental to health and in some cases even result in heart failure. “It has been estimated that about four out of every 1 000 babies are born with inherited heart defects, which provides some idea of the extent of the challenge posed by this condition within the Eastern Cape and nationally,” adds Dr Greyling. “World Heart Rhythm Week provides a good opportunity to improve knowledge of the problem among all sectors of the population including patients, parents and primary healthcare providers. We need to equip people with the necessary knowledge to be able to identify inherited heart problems and heart rhythm disorders, and to know when and where to obtain help.” The theme of World Heart Rhythm Week 2018 is ‘Take Fainting to Heart’, as fainting can be an indication that one is suffering from a heart rhythm . . .
SANCA Western Cape dedicate educated people to create awareness of drug abuse and provide essential care to those who have been the victim of alcohol and drugs. The abuse prevention and treatment centre acts in three layers to move the patient towards a healthy lifestyle. Primary Prevention is the initial step taken before addiction can escalate. Through their various awareness campaigns if it is understood that a person is leaning towards substance abuse then he/she is given special care to build resilience and trained to stay away from drugs. Secondary Prevention is concerned about youth, women and people who had faced substance abuse in the workplace. SANCA ensures that the residents of the Western Cape suffering from abuse go through educational initiatives and life skills training to eliminate the risk of becoming a high-level drug abuser. Tertiary Prevention initiatives are mainly focused on those who have developed a substance abuse problem. This program provides comprehensive support and a treatment package that also includes aftercare services. Prevention Programmes: POPPETS (Programme of Primary Prevention), Youth Programme and FASD (Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder) Awareness Programmes are incorporated in the prevention programme category. The POPPETS Programme targets the pre-school group using puppetry and story-telling methodologies while the Youth Programme focuses on creating awareness among the middle school and high school students. Other than educating and awareness creating programmes, FASD Prevention Program also focuses on identifying and equipping women such that they make informed choices. The aim is to make high-risk women and teenage girls from impoverished areas understand the risk of substance abuse during pregnancy. Out Patient Programmes: It has been observed that substance abuse in the region of Western Cape has increased significantly among teenagers and young adults. The Out-Patient Programme offered by SANCA Western Cape . . .
Although Nokwazi Thabethe will admit to harbouring a few nerves on her first day as a facilitator for Project Dignity – the NPO extension of Subz Pants and Pads – after a few moments spent addressing the schoolgirls, she knew she had found her calling. “I was working in customer care at a contact centre and when I heard about the position as a facilitator for Subz, and I decided to go for it,” said the dynamic uMlazi resident. “I’ve been working with Subz since February and this is my Energade! I love talking about these issues and being out there with the kids.” Project Dignity has been distributing environmentally-friendly, reusable packs of Subz sanitary pads and accompanying panties to various schools for years. Founded by Sue Barnes, creator of Subz Pants and Pads, the NPO (Project Dignity) also uses the activation as a platform to address the schoolgirls on topics such as menstruation and body changes. Drawing on her extensive experience as a former outreach facilitator at Childline KZN, Nokwazi has really taken to her role as the Zulu facilitator for Subz, engaging with the girls and sharing useful insights. “I discuss various topics with the girls, explaining to them the changes to expect. I also tell them they shouldn’t be scared, but rather that it’s something to be happy about. Most of these girls are not able to afford sanitary wear and their reaction inspires and motivates me to make a difference all the time. I love being able to share with them, see them laugh and smile and give them hope… that really does it for me!” Nokwazi’s youthful energy, shared background and ability to communicate with schoolchildren on their level allows her to quickly build a rapport with these young girls, many of whom have nowhere else to turn when it comes to discussing such pertinent topics. “I share my personal experiences so that they feel comfortable and know that it’s normal to have these changes,” she explained. “I do the talks in English and isiZulu . . .
A new Netcare 911 paediatric intensive care ambulance has been specially designed and equipped to safely transport critically ill children who need to be transferred between hospitals to receive specialised care at an appropriate medical facility. “The Netcare 911 team identified a need for such an ambulance as children have very specific needs,” says Shalen Ramduth, director of business development and support services at Netcare 911, and one of the prime movers behind the introduction of the new vehicle. “A great deal of thought went into the design, with every consideration being given to ensuring that we can safely care for our critically ill young charges and that they are comfortable while being transported. The result is a dedicated paediatric intensive care ambulance, which we understand is the first of its kind in the country,” notes Ramduth. Ramduth explains that Netcare 911 operates a number of intensive care ambulances staffed by paramedics experienced in critical care, for patients whose health is so compromised that they require an intensive care environment while en route between hospitals to, as far as possible, ensure that they remain stable and safe during their transfer. “These ambulances have highly specialised life support equipment and essentially provide an intensive care environment for patients. Since their introduction a couple of years ago, they have safely transported hundreds of patients between hospitals,” he adds. “While our standard ICU ambulances can be used to transfer paediatric patients, we wanted to develop an ambulance that was specifically suited to meet the needs and requirements of child patients. The new paediatric intensive care ambulance can therefore also accommodate medical technologies specifically for children. It can, for example, carry a paediatric corporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) machine, for children who require both heart and respiratory support. Provision is also made to incorporate an . . .
A laser procedure to treat enlarged prostate, the most common non-cancerous prostate medical condition to develop in men by the time they reach their 60s, has been introduced to South Africa for the first time at Netcare Parklands Hospital in Durban. The procedure, the holmium laser enucleation of the prostate (HoLEP), was recently successfully performed for the first time in the country by urologist, Dr Amit Kalpee, and his team on a Durban man with a severely enlarged prostate, a condition known as benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). “A severely enlarged prostate causes uncomfortable urinary symptoms. HoLEP involves using a special high-powered laser to remove the gland and any tissue that causes obstruction of the urethra, through which the urine drains,” explains Dr Kalpee, who completed the European HoLEP Masterclass and is the first HoLEP surgeon in South Africa. “This resolves symptoms such as urine blockage, which can in turn cause bladder and urinary tract infections and potentially serious kidney complications if left untreated,” he adds. “The procedure is done under anaesthetic with the assistance of a tiny camera which together with the laser instrument is mounted on a fine telescopic rod that is inserted into the urethra via the penis.” Dr Kalpee says HoLEP is a modern alternative to the standard procedure known as transurethral resection of the prostate procedure (TURP) for bladder outflow obstruction due to enlarged prostate. HoLEP requires specialist training and takes slightly longer to complete than a TURP, but it is less invasive and has a number of advantages over this standard procedure. “There is less bleeding than after a TURP, and patients are often ready to be discharged from hospital the day after the procedure, much sooner than if a TURP was performed. Because enucleation is a much more precise procedure with the entire gland removed, recurrence of the problem does not occur. With HoLEP there is also no size limit of the . . .
As with many conditions and diseases, early detection and treatment of vision problems are key to a better prognosis. When it comes to children’s eyesight, early intervention is especially important because their developing eyes are more prone to long term damage. Children’s eyes should be checked by an optometrist regularly and when prescribed, corrective eyewear should be worn to prevent further strain or damage. “There is no benefit to postponing prescription eyeglasses for young children who need them. Their eyes will not become lazy or fail to develop properly if they wear eye glasses. In fact, failing to equip them with the corrective lenses they need can worsen their vision, because their eyes are at risk of long term damage as a result of prolonged and undue strain,” says Ruahan Naude, CEO at Dynamic Vision. Poor vision not only affects a child’s ability to see and understand the world around them but can affect so many other areas of their development. Their performance at school can be affected as well as their sporting and other extracurricular pursuits. Untreated vision problems can also affect a child’s cognitive, emotional, neurologic and physical development by limiting the range of experiences and the kinds of information to which the child is exposed. “Most of what children learn is through visual processing. Studies suggest that children with poor vision are three times more likely to fail their first year at school because they have trouble reading, seeing what is written on the board and other visual cues.” says Naude. He continues saying that vision issues are becoming more prevalent in today’s young children: “Children these days are doing more close-up reading tasks than their parents ever did thanks to the use of electronic devices like tablets and mobile phones. These devices are held much closer to the face than a book would be and this puts immense strain on eyes, especially young developing eyes. Too much strain over . . .
We all spend the first nine months of our lives in fluid and once we’re born hydration plays a vital role in our existence. Someone who is passionate about the health benefits of water is Tony Marchesini, managing director of H2O International SA. “Our bodies are 75 percent water and our major organs – brain, lungs, heart, liver and kidneys – are between 65 and 85 percent water. It’s vitally important to keep levels topped up with the best water we can lay our hands on, preferably purified with a high-end coconut-shell based granular-activated carbon, KDF/Riolyte filter,” he says. It’s true: our cognitive, breathing, digestive, temperature-control and blood systems all require us to be well hydrated in order to perform at optimal levels, but sweating, breathing and waste elimination cause us to lose up to three litres of water a day. What happens when we don’t drink enough water? Our body is forced to retain water, so our urine becomes more concentrated and much darker than normal. Waste can build up and clog the kidneys, causing kidney damage, and contributing to the formation of kidney stones. Believe it or not your brain literally shrinks and stops working as effectively if you don’t drink enough – that’s what’s happening when you get a headache after a strenuous workout. Water is incredibly important for the brain – it’s been proven that having a drink of water when you’re thirsty can boost your brain power by 14%. Other side-effects of brain dehydration are bad moods, lethargy and tiredness. When dehydration is severe, you might feel dizzy and confused, and may even experience chest pains. This can be due to acidosis caused by a decrease in pH levels due to electrolyte imbalance. This is dangerous as it may lead to heart and nervous-system complications unless quickly attended to. That’s all going on inside your body, but dehydration has an effect on your skin too. For some, the effects are obvious: dry, flaky, tight. For others, strangely . . .
You never know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have.” ~ Bob Marley International Cancer Survivors Day is celebrated globally on the first Sunday of June each year, which will be on the 3rd of June this year. This is a day to celebrate the lives of survivors, give hope to the newly diagnosed and educate communities about the disease. According to the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), around 150 per million children worldwide are diagnosed with cancer before the age of 15. In South Africa 70-80 per children are diagnosed and partly due to lack of knowledge, of those diagnosed most are in late stages, which lead to longer treatment, more disabilities and a lower survival rate. This can drastically improve with more knowledge shared about the disease. What is cancer? You may wonder. Your body is made up of thousands of cells – about ten trillion actually. Normal ones keep our bodies healthy, these cells grow and divide and stop when they should but sometimes they don’t know when to stop. Cancer is the uncontrollable growth of cells in the body often causing a growth or tumour. The following are the most common cancers among 13-20-year-olds. • Leukaemia - is a type of cancer that affects the blood and the bone marrow. • Lymphoma - there are 2 main groups of lymphomas: Hodgkin lymphoma (HL) and Non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL). In teenagers and young adults (15–24 years old), Hodgkin lymphoma (HL) is treated with chemotherapy whilst Non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL), may additionally require radiation therapy. • Brain Tumour - Primary brain tumours which start in the brain is a growth of cells in the brain that multiplies in an abnormal, uncontrollable way. They can also be metastatic from tumours elsewhere in the body. • Sarcoma - There are two main types of bone cancer in young people – Osteosarcoma and Ewing Sarcoma. Both are pretty rare and usually affect large bones like the thigh bone and the shin bone, but can also . . .