Prostate cancer affects one in every 23 South African men, according to Global Cancer Statistics 2018. A new treatment process called Low Dose Rate brachytherapy (LDR) is a form of radiation therapy that might soon change that. This treatment is exclusive to the Groote Schuur Hospital in Cape Town.
Dr Justin Howlett, urologist at Groote Schuur Hospital and co-founder of Project Peacock, told IOL that prostate cancer treatment was available in the private sector but due to the high costs involved, they could not be offered in the public health sector. Thanks to different funding contributions, however, they had been able to offer this procedure in the public sector for the last two years.
This form of treatment is especially beneficial for patients as it causes significantly less damage to surrounding organs than more traditional treatments. Patients are also discharged from hospital sooner, as early as one day after surgery.
According to Howlett, a total of 36 patients have already been treated for free since the project was launched and all of them present “good results”, although cancer patients have to be followed for at least 10 years to have final results.
Different charity organisations have gotten involved in Project Peacock but the largest contributor has been Movember, an organisation that donates towards and educates people about health issues unique to men. It has become a trend in recent years for men to grow moustaches during the month of November, and this initiative does so to create awareness for this worthy cause.
Howlett told Good Things Guy that the funding provided by Movember is used to pay medical personnel such as anaesthetists and nursing staff who assist on the surgery days. It is also used to train registrars (future specialists) in urology and oncology in this procedure.
There are numerous ways to get involved and contribute. Click here to see how.