Netcare cancer care 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 cancer care services to patients across the full cancer spectrum, in a safe, caring and supportive environment.

Netcare remains at the forefront of providing patients with world-class cancer care services. Testament to this is a new state-of-the-art radiation unit which recently opened at Netcare Milpark Hospital, with advanced linear accelerator technology to ensure high-precision targeting of tumours whilst safeguarding as much normal tissue as possible. The hospital is the only facility in South Africa to offer intra-operative radiotherapy (IORT), delivering low-energy, highly concentrated radiation in theatre to select patients directly after surgery to remove cancer or other abnormal tissue from the breast.

Our nine 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.

In addition, haematology services including bone marrow transplants are offered at five 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 adopted the South African Oncology Consortium’s (SAOC) treatment protocols.

In support of its objective, the SAOC has developed a ‘tiered’ oncology treatment guideline in which chemotherapy and radiation therapy options are tailored to meet the financial constraints of the individual patient’s healthcare insurance benefits. 

This is supported by a comprehensive peer-to-peer and utilisation review programme.

Treatments offered at Netcare hospitals

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.  Netcare is also the only private provider of cancer care services to have introduced a patient navigation service.

Treatment options

Radiation therapy
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.

Gamma Knife Icon radiosurgery

The Gamma Knife Icon is the sixth generation of the Leksell Gamma Knife system. Gamma Knife Icon is the most precise radiation/radiosurgery technology on the market, enabling the treatment of virtually any target in the brain with sub-millimetre accuracy. Gamma Knife radiosurgery is used in the treatment of benign and malignant tumours, functional conditions such as trigeminal neuralgia, vascular malformations and other abnormalities in the brain. Contrary to its name, there is no knife. No incisions are involved in this procedure, thereby limiting potential risks and side effects of open surgery in a highly sensitive area - not to mention extended hospital stays and long recoveries. In addition, the delivery of powerful doses of precision-targeted radiation greatly reduces many of the risks associated with traditional radiation/radiosurgery as it consistently limits radiation doses to surrounding healthy tissue. Patients having Gamma Knife treatment are not admitted to hospital and are typically in and out of the unit the same day.

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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.

Rapid arc

with rapid arc 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.

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.


Unlike external beam therapy, brachytherapy involves placing radioactive 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, involves 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
  Gamma Knife Icon radiosurgery External beam radiation therapy Intensity modulated radiotherapy (IMRT) Image guided radiation therapy (IGRT) Gated radiotherapy Stereotactic irradiation Rapid arc Brachytherapy* Radioisotope therapy**


Netcare Clinton Hospital        
Netcare Milpark Hospital ●  ●  ●  ●  ●   ●    
Netcare Olivedale Hospital      
Netcare Pinehaven Hospital          
Netcare Unitas Hospital  


Cancare Centre      
Netcare Parklands Hospital      

Western Cape

Netcare N1 City Hospital

* Various Netcare hospitals offer permanent brachytherapy

** Various other Netcare hospitals also offer radioisotope treatment

Types of radiation therapy offered

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**

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.

Netcare managed chemotherapy facilities and services are offered at Netcare Garden City, Netcare Christiaan Barnard Memorial hospital, Netcare Milpark hospital, Netcare Pinehaven hospital, Netcare waterfall City hospitals as well as at UCT Private Academic Hospital.

  • 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 Cape Town, Western Cape, Netcare Greenacres Hospital in Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape and Netcare Waterfall City Hospital in Midrand, 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.


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.

Six haematology facilities at Netcare hospitals offer bone marrow transplantation:

  • Gauteng: Netcare Pretoria East and Netcare Garden City Hospital
  • Kwa Zululu Natal: Netcare Parklands and Netcare uMhlanga hospitals
  • 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 cancer care services

Paediatric 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 Clinton and Netcare Unitas hospitals in Gauteng offer specialised paediatric oncology. Radiation therapy for paediatric cancer treatment is offered at Netcare Clinton, Netcare Olivedale, Netcare Milpark, Netcare Pinetown, Netcare Unitas hospitals in Gauteng, Netcare Parklands Hospital and the cancer care centre in KwaZulu-Natal, and Netcare N1 City and Netcare Christiaan Barnard Memorial hospitals in the Western Cape. A number of Netcare hospitals provide chemotherapy for children requiring this type of treatment.
  • Netcare Unitas, Netcare Garden City, Netcare Pretoria East and UCT Private Academic hospitals have paediatric oncology wards and provide haematology services.

Supportive care

Supportive care is care given to improve the quality of life of patients and their families who are facing the problems associated with a life-threatening illness, from diagnosis onwards. Supportive care is an approach to care that addresses the person as whole, not just their disease. It is not just concerned with pain and physical symptoms but with psychosocial, emotional and spiritual problems as well. Whilst the definition of supportive care is complex, we now understand it to involve all life-limiting illness which includes cancer.

The physical and emotional effects of cancer and its treatment differ from person to person. Supportive care can address a broad range of issues, integrating an individual’s specific needs into their care. The goal is to improve quality of life for both the patient and their family. Quality of life will mean different things to all of us, but may include:

  • Being comfortable and pain-free.
  • Being able to socialise and spend time with loved ones.
  • Being independent as possible.
  • Not feeling a burden on others
  • Feeling emotional well.

Supportive care is appropriate at any age and at any stage of illness and can be provided along with curative treatment.

The supportive care team:
Supportive care is usually provided by supportive care doctors and nurses who have received special training and/ or certification in supportive care. They provide holistic care to the patient and family/caregiver focusing on the palliative, emotional, social and spiritual issues cancer patients may face during their cancer journey. The supportive care team works in conjunction with the primary treating doctor, with in most cases is the oncologist.
Supportive care doctors and nurses work as part of an inter-disciplinary team that may include dieticians, pharmacists, physiotherapists, psychologists, counsellors, volunteers and social workers.

Patient navigation

In the same way that no two fingerprints are the same, two people may have the same cancer diagnosis but they will respond completely differently and require different approaches to care.
Netcare’s approach to cancer care is designed with this in min. not the other way round.
Netcare will work closely with all those involved in the cancer care continuum to ensure that navigators and navigation as service, supports each cancer patient in a positive way.

  • A navigator is a registered nurse with experience in oncology, whose key task is to promote the timely movement of an individual patient through an often complex healthcare continuum.
  • The navigation service is offered free of charge to any patient who needs assistance in navigating through their cancer journey.
  • The navigator serves as source of clinical and complementary information throughout the patients cancer journey, and as a guide to help patients and their families understand the next steps at each point along their journey.
  • The navigator also helps coordinate the patient care through the healthcare system i.e. help in setting up appointments, transport etc.
  • Navigation is done in partnership with the treating doctor and his/her team, so that it integrates a fragmented healthcare system for an individual cancer patient.
  • Navigation aims to eliminate barriers of care, ensure timeous delivery thereof, and enhance satisfaction and support amongst patients, their families, referring doctors and health teams.

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.


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

Oncology centres

Netcare Clinton oncology centre

Planning – 010 216 9481
Machine – 010 216 9454
Admin – 010 216 9624

Netcare Milpark Hospital

Radiation Therapy Centre
Tel: 011 481 1318
Tel: 011 481 1319

Netcare Olivedale oncology centre

Tel: 011 777 2262

Netcare Unitas oncology centre

Tel: 012 6778124

Netcare Parklands oncology centre

Tel: 031 242 4193

Netcare St Annes Hospital

Radiation Therapy
Tel: 033 897 5208


Tel: 031 273 3460/9

Western Cape
Netcare N1 City oncology centre

Tel: 021 590 4506