Cancer patients from Mpumalanga will no longer have to cross provincial borders to access cancer treatment and healthcare, as a new oncology unit has been opened at Witbank Tertiary Hospital.
According to the Mpumalanga Department of Health, about 500 cancer patients from the province used to travel to Steve Biko Academic Hospital in Tshwane to receive cancer care services.
The new oncology unit will provide screening, radiological, histological and cytological diagnosis services.
The unit can also carry out chemotherapy and surgery such as mastectomy. Plans are in place for the unit to also offer radiotherapy in the future.
Multi-disciplinary medical teams have been established in the unit to ensure that identified cancers are treated jointly by specialists.
The new oncology unit was officially opened by Mpumalanga Premier Refilwe Mtshweni-Tsipane and Health MEC Sasekani Manzini recently.
The Premier praised the exceptional work done by the department and staff from the University of the Witwatersrand.
“The two institutions signed a Memorandum of Understanding to work together to improve access to specialised healthcare services for the people of Mpumalanga and to decrease cancer patients’ waiting times. Their commitment and teamwork made it possible for us to achieve this important milestone,” she said.
The new oncology unit is part of the provincial government’s effort to provide cancer care services and improve access to healthcare for local residents.
In the past, the department identified a need for an oncology treatment centre, offering chemotherapy services.
This led to oncology services being launched at Rob Ferreira Hospital, in Mbombela, in August 2019.
If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with cancer, contact the Cancer Association of South Africa (CANSA). It has online support groups to help you. For more information, call the toll-free Help Desk at 0800 22 66 22, or visit www.cansa.org.za
CANSA also offers multilingual support on WhatsApp: 0721979305 for English and Afrikaans, and 0718673530 for isiXhosa, isiZulu, Sesotho and Siswati.