Taking care of your breast health should never be daunting. A world-class multidisciplinary team at Netcare Unitas Hospital is using its collective experience and expertise to provide holistic treatment, care and support for people with breast cancer, every step of the way.
“When something is noticed on the mammogram, the uncertainty of what to expect next can be overwhelming and significantly add to an already upsetting situation for the person,” says Dr Rouchelle Marais, a clinical and radiation oncologist who practises at Netcare Unitas Hospital.
“We have created the Breast Care Group to be a steady rock for patients, allowing them to benefit from the knowledge of our experienced team of 27 practitioners. The team members provide their input on each person’s diagnosis and discuss different treatment options and the pathway ahead,” she says.
|(Left to right:) Clinical and radiation oncologist Dr Rouchelle Marais, specialist breast surgeon Dr Lucienne van Schalkwyk and radiologist Dr Heleen Hanekom have established a dedicated breast care team at Netcare Unitas Hospital. The multidisciplinary team provides holistic treatment, compassionate care and support for people with breast cancer, every step of the way.
Dr Marais, together with specialist breast surgeon Dr Lucienne van Schalkwyk and Dr Heleen Hanekom, a radiologist with a special interest in breast imaging, are three women specialists on a crusade to raise awareness about breast health and make the journey of breast cancer treatment as unintimidating and effective as possible. The centre at Netcare Unitas Hospital also brings together the services of Curo Oncology and Burger Radiologists Inc for a seamless patient experience.
“Patients are always fully involved in decision making, as it is important to note that each person’s case and circumstances are unique, and no two journeys with breast cancer are the same. Patients can have peace of mind knowing that all treatments offered are aligned to international best practice guidelines,” Dr Van Schalkwyk adds.
“Often, once a lump or speck on a mammogram is detected, the next step is to have a biopsy to determine what exactly we are dealing with. To reach a decision on the most appropriate set of treatment options requires accurate diagnostic information and testing. Usually this takes two to three weeks before treatment can begin, however it is absolutely crucial to guide the overall process for the best possible outcomes,” Dr Marais says.
Treatment options may include chemotherapy, radiation therapy, immunotherapy, hormone therapy, surgery or a combination of these services, as well as breast reconstruction where needed. The Breast Care Group’s holistic care includes psychosocial support, dietician’s advice and supportive therapies to help fight cancer on all fronts and cope with the immense emotional toll that breast cancer may have on the individual and their family.
“While some people may be diagnosed with more advanced or aggressive cancers, other types of cancer may progress more slowly, or the person may prefer not to go ahead with treating the cancer but rather take a watchful waiting approach. No matter what the diagnosis, or your decision regarding treatment, we are here to offer specialised care from a compassionate and respectful team, which is mostly women,” she says.
“As always, we encourage women to have regular mammograms as the earlier breast cancer is identified, the more options are available to manage their condition,” Dr Hanekom adds.
“We are here to face anything with our patients and help them every step of the way. The multidisciplinary team ensures you are looked after from every angle and are well informed throughout the journey. This saves time, effort, and hassle for patients so that they can focus on their recovery and living life,” she concludes.
Notes to editor
Looking for a medical appointment? Netcare appointmed™ will make appointments for YOU with specialists practising at Netcare hospitals, GPs and dentists at Medicross medical and dental centres, and specialists at Akeso mental health facilities. Simply request an appointment online at www.netcare.co.za/Request-a-medical-appointment or phone Netcare appointmed™ on 0860 555 565, Mondays to Fridays between 08:00 and 17:00.
To find out more about the services offered through Netcare hospitals and other of the Group’s facilities, please visit www.netcare.co.za or contact the Netcare customer service centre either by email at [email protected] or phone 0860 NETCARE (0860 638 2273). Note that the centre operates Mondays to Fridays from 08:00 to 16:00.
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