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Facility to ‘revolutionise’ oncology

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The Elekta Synergy Platform is due to arrive in Kimberley a qualified medical physicist will oversee the installation

The machine can treat between 40 to 50 cancer patients a day

A STATE-of-the-art radiation therapy treatment system, the first of its kind in the Northern Cape, will be delivered to Kimberley’s Lenmed hospital today.

According to Jennifer Fuller, regional business manager of Equra Health, the new system is set to revolutionise oncology in the Northern Cape and will transform oncology care for patients and practitioners.

“There are currently no radiotherapy services in the Northern Cape. Patients have to travel to Bloemfontein or Johannesburg to receive treatment, which impacts on their health, outcomes and finances,” Fuller stated.

“The delivery of the Elekta Synergy Platform is an extraordinary achievement – patients will be able to receive treatment for a variety of cancers, such as breast cancer right through to skin cancer, cervical cancer and prostate cancer, as of January 2018.”

The Elekta Synergy Platform is one of the most advanced on the market today, offering high-end treatment modalities such as 3D conformal, 2D real-time imaging and IMRT (intensity modulated radiotherapy).

It also features a fully integrated 160 multileaf collimator which ensures the beam is shaped to the shape and size of the tumour and spares healthy tissue around it.

According to Equra Health, which is currently involved in 23 affiliated radiation oncology units in southern Africa, the primary goal of the company is to have an oncology footprint in all nine provinces in South Africa.

“To achieve this vision, we need to forge long-term partnerships with the right people and organisations. It has taken time to move into this area as we had to find a partner that understood our ethos and matched our commitment to health,” Fuller stated.

“The Lenmed Royal Hospital and Heart Centre was a superb fit, allowing us to create an exceptional oncology facility and gave us the opportunity to partner with the three independent oncologists on site.”

She pointed out that Dr Theo Smallberger, Dr Sumeyyah Ibrahim and Dr Daniel Osei-Fofie would be consulting out of the hospital and collaborating with Equra Health and Lenmed to provide a full oncology service to patients.

“Their involvement has allowed for the centre to create a holistic oncology care solution for patients who have sorely needed it.”

Dr Smallberger, specialist clinical and radiation oncologist, pointed out that having a state-of-the-art oncology facility was a great step forward in providing a top-class health care service for cancer patients in the Northern Cape.

“I am looking forward to this wonderful opportunity.”

He was echoed by Dr Osei-Fofie, who stated that “at long last oncology patients in the Northern Cape have access to the much-needed, long-awaited radiotherapy treatment and I am more than excited for this new service that will shortly be available in Kimberley”.

Equra Health PTY LTD currently owns and operates 32 high energy external beam radiation treatment machines (linear accelerators), has an extensive geographic footprint and is currently present in eight of the nine provinces in SA.

Kimberley will ensure all nine provinces are covered.

“The machine can treat between 40 to 50 cancer patients a day,” Fuller stated. “For those patients who have had to travel to Bloemfontein or Johannesburg, this will change the way they recover and heal. Often, they have to spend four to six weeks in these cities, away from their support networks and their jobs. This can impact on their outcomes as they don’t have moral support, and many of these patients don’t speak English so the experience is even more emotionally draining.”

The Elekta Synergy Platform is due to arrive in Kimberley today and operations will start early next year.

A qualified medical physicist will oversee the installation during this period, a lengthy process that takes several months.

Equra Health is also aiming to work with local and provincial government so that state patients can gain access to the facility, receiving much-needed care closer to home.

“By investing in this market-leading system, Lenmed Royal Hospital and Heart Centre and Equra Health are fundamentally changing the way oncology care is managed in the Northern Cape Province.

“It is a landmark moment for the oncology specialists on site, but it is even more so for those patients who can now work, live and recover close to their homes, friends and families.”