Oncology facilities and services

Significant and on-going advances in the diagnosis and treatment of cancer are contributing to improved patient outcomes and survival rates. Through continued investment in cutting-edge technology and a holistic approach to care, Netcare remains at the forefront of providing comprehensive, world-class oncology services to patients across the full cancer spectrum, in a safe, caring and supportive environment.

Netcare remains at the forefront of providing patients with comprehensive, world-class oncology services across the full cancer spectrum.

Our seven dedicated oncology centres across South Africa offer a range of radiation treatments as well as chemotherapy. Treatment is provided by multi-disciplinary teams including radiologists, surgeons, oncologists, medical physicists, pathologists, nurses and radiation therapists who work closely together to develop an individual treatment plan for each patient.

Haematology services including bone marrow transplants are offered at four Netcare hospitals, with the largest facility of its kind in Africa being situated at Netcare Pretoria East Hospital. Robotic-assisted surgery for prostate, bladder and kidney cancer are available at three Netcare hospitals.

Netcare has developed evidence-based, internationally accepted clinical pathways and protocols for all types of cancer treatment. Radiology treatment is furthermore aligned with SAOC (South African Oncology Consortium) protocols. 

Cancer on the increase in South Africa

Over the past two decades, there has been a steady increase in the incidence of cancer in South Africa and world-wide. Cancer is ranked fourth as the most common cause of death in our country and. statistics indicate that the disease impacts one in four people in South Africa  having been diagnosed with cancer or being close to a person who is suffering from cancer.

Over the past two decades, there has been a steady increase in the incidence of cancer in South Africa and world-wide. Cancer is ranked fourth as the cause of death in our country and. statistics indicate that the disease impacts one in four people in South Africa, either having been diagnosed with cancer or being close to a person who is suffering from cancer.

Treatments offered at Netcare oncology centres

Netcare offers a comprehensive range of world-class treatment options in order to provide cancer patients with the most appropriate and effective care tailored to their unique circumstances.

Treatment options

 
 
 
 
 
 
Radiation therapy
Chemotherapy
Surgery
Haematology
Stem cell treatment
Paediatric oncology

Treatment options

  • Radiation therapy
  • Chemotherapy
  • Surgery
  • Haematology
  • Stem cell treatment
  • Paediatric oncology

Radiation therapy

The oncology centres at Netcare hospitals use the most advanced radiation technology to provide optimal treatment for different types of cancers whilst minimising the effect on surrounding normal organs and tissue.

An individual treatment plan is developed for each patient by a multi-disciplinary team comprised of a radiation oncologist, medical physicist and radiation therapists who work closely together to ensure the most appropriate treatment option is selected for the patient. The process includes evaluating the patient, determining the appropriate therapy or combination of therapies, the area to be treated, the dose of radiation to be delivered, and the most appropriate treatment option or options.

External beam radiation therapy

Radiotherapy entails the treatment of lesions with ionising radiation. In the case of external beam radiotherapy, high energy x-rays or electrons are generated outside the body, usually by a linear accelerator machine, and these high energy beams are targeted at the tumour site where they deposit their energy within the body to destroy cancer or abnormal cells.

Intensity modulated radiotherapy (IMRT)

IMRT is an advanced form of high accuracy radiotherapy that delivers a high dose of radiation to a tumour. Multiple beams are shaped to conform to the lesion outline. Each beam has a number of sub-beams or segments, and the intensity of each segment varies. In effect, IMRT allows control over both the shape of the radiation field as well as the dose that gets delivered to each ‘sub-area’ of the field. This results in the delivery of the prescribed dose to an irregular tumour, at the same time sparing the normal structures and tissue around the tumour.

Image guided radiation therapy (IGRT)

IGRT enables the creation of a three-dimensional image of the actual patient and the position of the lesion on a daily basis. This increases the accuracy of the treatment set-up and delivery. IGRT can also be used to adapt and modify the treatment plan to allow for anatomical changes during the course of radiotherapy. The increased precision in adapting to anatomical changes improves tumour control and reduces side effects of treatment.

Gated radiotherapy

Gated therapy is used to treat tumours in the regions of lungs, liver and stomach, where there is a possibility of organ movement during breathing. The treatment beam is then co-ordinated with the patient’s breathing rhythm. The CT images are acquired at a particular breathing phase and the linear accelerator is gated to irradiate the tumour during that phase. In effect, gating means that the equipment is used to restrict the radiation beam to only be on during a specific part of the breathing cycle.

Stereotactic irradiation

Stereotactic irradiation is the external beam radiation technique which currently offers the highest level of precision. High dose radiation can be delivered to small lesions in the brain (intracranial) or the rest of the body (extracranial), with a position accuracy of 1mm.

Evidence-based research is conducted at the oncology centres where this treatment option is offered, and outcomes are measured for up to five years.

Rapid arch

With rapid arch the treatment is delivered with a single 360 degree rotation around the patient. This significantly shortens the treatment time, compared to normal treatment time, which improves patient comfort as the time they spend on the treatment couch is much shorter. During a 360◦ rotation a precise sculpted 3-D distribution is delivered. This is made possible by a treatment planning algorithm that simultaneously changes three parameters during treatment, namely the rotation speed of the gantry, the shape of the treatment aperture by using multi-leave collimator, and the dose delivery.

Brachytherapy

Unlike external beam therapy, brachytherapy involves placing radio-active material directly inside the body. Brachytherapy enables a physician to use a higher total dose of irradiation to treat a smaller area in a shorter time or treatment course than is needed in external beam radiation. Brachytherapy can be temporary or permanent.

Permanent brachytherapy, also called seed implants, involve the placing of radioactive seeds or pellets in or near a tumour, leaving them there permanently. After weeks the radioactivity level eventually diminishes to zero but the seeds remain in the body.

Radioisotope treatment

Different isotopes are absorbed by different organs, making targeted treatment of a specific organ possible. Radioisotopes may also be given as a pain reliever to patients suffering from metastasis. The treatment is performed in an isolation room.

Hospital/Oncology centre Types of radiation therapy offered
  External beam radiation therapy Intensity modulated radiotherapy (IMRT) Image guided radiation therapy (IGRT) Gated radiotherapy Stereotactic irradiation Rapid arch Brachytherapy* Radioisotope therapy**

Gauteng

Netcare Clinton Hospital       Permanent brachytherapy
Netcare Olivedale Hospital     Permanent brachytherapy
Netcare Rand Hospital         Permanent brachytherapy
Netcare Unitas Hospital Permanent brachytherapy
 

KwaZulu-Natal

Cancare Centre     Permanent brachytherapy
Netcare Parklands Hospital     Permanent brachytherapy
 

Western Cape

N1 City Hospital     Permanent brachytherapy

* Various other Netcare hospitals also offer permanent brachytherapy

** Various other Netcare hospitals also offer radioisotope treatment

Types of radiation therapy offered

Gauteng
Netcare Clinton Hospital

External beam radiation therapy
Intensity modulated radiotherapy (IMRT)
Image guided radiation therapy (IGRT)
Brachytherapy* Permanent brachytherapy
Radioisotope therapy**

Netcare Olivedale Hospital

External beam radiation therapy
Intensity modulated radiotherapy (IMRT)
Image guided radiation therapy (IGRT)
Stereotactic irradiation
Brachytherapy* Permanent brachytherapy
Radioisotope therapy**

Netcare Rand Hospital

External beam radiation therapy
Intensity modulated radiotherapy (IMRT)
Brachytherapy* Permanent brachytherapy
Radioisotope therapy**

Netcare Unitas Hospital

External beam radiation therapy
Intensity modulated radiotherapy (IMRT)
Image guided radiation therapy (IGRT)
Gated radiotherapy
Stereotactic irradiation
Rapid arch
Brachytherapy* Permanent brachytherapy
Radioisotope therapy**

Kwazulu-Natal
Cancare Centre

External beam radiation therapy
ntensity modulated radiotherapy (IMRT)
Image guided radiation therapy (IGRT)
Gated radiotherapy
Brachytherapy* Permanent brachytherapy
Radioisotope therapy**

Netcare Parklands Hospital

External beam radiation therapy
Intensity modulated radiotherapy (IMRT)
Image guided radiation therapy (IGRT)
Stereotactic irradiation
Brachytherapy* Temporary brachytherapy
Radioisotope therapy**

Western Cape
N1 City Hospital

Intensity modulated radiotherapy (IMRT)
Image guided radiation therapy (IGRT)
Stereotactic irradiation
Brachytherapy* Permanent brachytherapy
Radioisotope therapy**

*Various other Netcare hospitals also offer permanent brachytherapy
**Various other Netcare hospitals also offer radioisotope treatment

Chemotherapy (medical oncology)

Chemotherapy involves the treatment of cancer with chemical agents. It is administered to destroy malignant (cancer) cells, or to retard their growth. A combination of agents – sometimes referred to as a cocktail - is often used to attack malignant cells in a variety of ways. Chemotherapy can be administered on either an inpatient or on an outpatient basis. Chemotherapy can also be used on its own in treatment, or in conjunction with radiation therapy.

  • Most Netcare hospitals offer chemotherapy service.

Surgical cancer treatments

Robotic-assisted prostate, bladder and kidney surgery

Robotic-assisted surgery is internationally regarded as the surgical gold standard in the treatment of localised prostate cancer, and has become the treatment of choice around the world. Robotic-assisted surgery is also used for the treatment of bladder and kidney cancers.

The da Vinci robotic technology installed at three Netcare hospitals enables surgeons trained in the system to visualise the prostate as well as the surrounding tissue and neurovascular bundles three-dimensionally in superior high definition and the hand controls.  

The technology gives surgeons finer hand control, making it possible for them to perform highly intricate, minimally invasive prostatectomies (the surgical removal of the prostate gland) with more precision. This means that the risk of leaving any cancerous tissue behind or damaging the surrounding nerves that control erectile function and urinary continence is minimised, resulting in a faster return to normal erectile function and improved outcomes in urinary continence.

Other benefits of robotic-assisted prostate surgery are a reduced need for blood transfusion, less post-operative pain, less risk of wound infection, a shorter hospital stay and faster recovery.

  • Netcare Christiaan Barnard Hospital in the Western Cape, Netcare uMhlanga Hospital in KwaZulu-Natal and Netcare Waterfall City Hospital in Gauteng offer da Vinci robotic-assisted surgery.
Neuro-oncology surgery

Intricate neurosurgery to treat brain cancers is performed in fully equipped interventional theatres which are linked to MRI and CT scanners, making it possible for patients to be scanned during a procedure.

  • Neuro-oncology surgery is offered at Netcare Milpark and Netcare N1 City hospitals.
Other cancer surgeries
  • Various cancer surgeries including excisions, biopsies and scopes are offered at all Netcare hospitals.

Haematology

This medical discipline includes the diagnosis and treatment of diseases of the blood and bone marrow as well as of the immunologic, haemostatic (blood clotting) and vascular systems.

Four haematology facilities at Netcare hospitals offer bone marrow transplantation:

  • Gauteng: Netcare Pretoria East and Netcare Garden City Hospital
  • Western Cape: Netcare Kuils River and UCT Private Academic hospitals

The transplant unit at Netcare Pretoria East Hospital is the largest facility of its kind in Africa. It has 30 single private rooms, all in an isolation ward, which is vital to the protection of patients whose immune systems are weakened after bone marrow transplantation, and is supported by a stem cell laboratory and cryopreservation facility. The unit has international accreditation and certification, and its state-of-the-art equipment is comparable to the best in the world.

Stem cell treatment

Stem Cell Therapy Plus aims to awaken dormant cells within the human body, thereby stimulating the growth and function of existing tissue and repairing or regenerating old and malfunctioning cells. Stem Cell Therapy Plus offers what vitamins, minerals and other conventional or natural treatments cannot, namely to provide the exact components necessary for injured or diseased tissue to heal and regenerate.

Netcare stem cell treatment is offered at the following Netcare hospitals:

  • Gauteng: Netcare Garden City, Netcare Pretoria East and Netcare Unitas hospitals
  • Western Cape: Netcare Kuils River and UCT Private Academic hospitals

Paediatric oncology

Pediatric oncology is the field of medicine concerned with the diagnosis and treatment of cancer in children. The most common cancers in children are (childhood) leukemia, brain tumours and lymphomas.

  • Netcare Rand and Netcare N1 City oncology centres are equipped to provide radiation treatment to children.
  • Netcare Unitas, Netcare Garden City, Netcare Pretoria East and UCT Private Academic hospitals have paediatric oncology wards and provide haematology services.

Diagnostic services

The use of high technology equipment in the diagnosis of different types of cancer facilitates more targeted treatments. Diagnostic technology used today to diagnose cancers includes:

  • CT scanning uses digital geometry processing to generate a three-dimensional (3-D) image of the inside of an object such as an organ.
  • Mammography is a 3-D or 4-D x-ray picture of the breast and is used to show up impalpable (imperceptible) breast cancer. A mammogram can also be used to check for breast cancer after a lump or other sign or symptom of the disease has been found.
  • MRI (Magnetic resonance imaging) uses a large magnet, radio waves and a computer programme to show detailed cross-sectional images of a patient's internal organs and structures.
  • Ultrasound uses high frequency sound waves to create an image of specific parts of the inside of a patient’s body, such as the stomach, liver, heart, tendons, muscles, joints and blood vessels. 

PET scanning is used for a variety of purposes, namely to:

  • help show up a cancer;
  • determine the stage of a cancer;
  •  show whether or not a lump is cancerous;
  •  show whether a cancer has spread to other parts of the body
  • help the specialist in determining the best treatment for your cancer;
  • show how well cancer drug treatment is working; and
  • show the difference between scar tissue resulting from cancer treatment and active cancer tissue.

In cases of lung cancer, PET scans are sometimes used to show whether cancer is present in the lymph nodes in the centre of the chest, as well as whether the cancer has spread to other areas in the body.

  • Nuclear medicine is a medical specialty involving the application of radioactive substances in the diagnosis and treatment of disease. Diagnostic nuclear medicine tests differ from most other imaging modalities in that they primarily show the physiological function of the system that is being investigated, whereas CT and MRI scans are used for anatomical imaging.
  • The radiology practices at Cancare oncology centre in KwaZulu-Natal, and at Netcare Linksfield and Netcare Pretoria East hospitals offer PET scanning.
  • The other diagnostic services are offered at radiology practices at Netcare hospitals.

Nuclear medicine imaging studies are generally more organ, tissue or disease specific, for example involving a scan of the lungs, heart, bone or brain, a scan of a tumour,  an infection, or specific disease such Parkinson’s.  Conventional radiology imaging, on the other hand, focuses on a particular section of the body, for example an x-ray of the chest, CT scan of the abdomen/pelvis or the head.

In addition, there are nuclear medicine studies that allow imaging of the whole body based on certain cellular receptors or functions. 

Support services

Support services form an integral part of Netcare’s holistic approach to the treatment provided to cancer patients, and can help to boost their morale and general wellbeing. Services offered include the following:

Dietary advice

Good nutrition is one of the cornerstones in supportive therapy for cancer patients. Eating a balanced and healthy diet may reduce some of the complications associated with cancer therapy and contribute to patients’ general wellbeing during treatment.

Prosthetic devices and wigs

Prosthetic devices assist in restoring functionality and helps patients to lead as full a life as possible. Many patients, especially women, find the loss of their hair as a result of certain cancer treatments emotionally upsetting. Assistance is provided to them with the selection of wigs, so that they can look their best until their hair has grown again.

Wound care and stoma clinics

Experienced nursing professionals at our specialised wound care clinics oversee the management of wounds and any skin reactions that may occur as a result of radiation. Patients with stomas (the surgically created opening from the inside of an organ to the outside of the body) are also taught how to care for and clean the stoma.

Physiotherapy

Lymph drainage assists in the treatment of lymphoedema, the swelling (usually in the arms or legs) caused by the abnormal accumulation of lymph fluid which may result from certain cancer treatments. Lymphoedema is a chronic condition and although it cannot be completely cured the condition and patients’ quality of life can be greatly improved with appropriate treatment performed by expert physiotherapists.

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy

Treatment in a pressurised oxygen chamber assists in speeding up the healing of burns, which is one of the side effects of radiation that patients may experience. The hyperbaric chamber provides greater oxygenation in the muscle tissue, supports tissue metabolism from the tissues of organisms and the process of healing.

Support groups

Active support groups established in conjunction with CANSA (Cancer Association of South Africa) and Cancer Buddies connect patients and their loved ones or carers with long-term survivors who have ’been there’ for insight, emotional support and understanding. Healthcare professionals across various disciplines are also invited to support group meetings on occasion, to discuss and provide guidance on specific topics of interest to cancer patients. Support groups offer hope and inspiration to cancer patients and also provide bereavement support to family members if and when necessary.

Look Good Feel Better (LGFB) programme

Look Good Feel Better is a group that helps women deal with the trauma and stress of cancer, assisting them to address the often distressing appearance-related side effects of their treatment.

Contact us

Netcare Oncology head office

Tel: 011 301 0000
E-mail: Theresa.roux@netcare.co.za

Oncology centres

Gauteng
Netcare Clinton oncology centre

Tel: 011 724 2301

Netcare Olivedale oncology centre

Tel: 011 777 2262

Netcare Rand oncology centre

Tel: 011 644 2831

Netcare Unitas oncology centre

Tel: 012 6778124

KwaZulu-Natal
Netcare Parklands oncology centre

Tel: 031 242 4193

Cancare

Tel: 031 273 3460/9

Western Cape
Netcare N1 City oncology centre

Tel: 021 590 4506