From new premises to state-of-the-art medical equipment, the new Sandton Oncology Medical Centre is transforming how patients receive cancer care

Sandton Oncology has been paying attention to its patients. When they speak of patient-focused care, you can see how they have integrated this on many levels at the new, state-of-the-art medical centre.

The advanced medical equipment and supportive care are just some of the features that the new premises offer. The space now creates a better healthcare experience through a more meaningful use of time. They make every moment count, especially the transition time when people wait in-between appointments and procedures.

Today, the experience could not be more different. The new location within 200 Rivonia Medical Centre, offers a coffee shop, a pharmacy, multiple specialists and disciplines, including surgeons and day wards, onsite diagnostic facilities and optometrists which is set in a modern, comfortable environment.

While the design touches of light and airy rooms, comfortable lounge styled waiting areas and freshly brewed coffee in the restaurant make a big difference to both patients and carers, they form only a part of what the oncology centre has on offer.

The new radiotherapy department has installed the state-of-the-art Elekta Versa HD linear accelerator with cone beam CT that enables Sandton Oncology to perform VMAT (volumetric modulated arc radiotherapy treatment), frameless radiosurgery, IMRT as well as stereotactic body radiotherapy.

“This terminology can be complex for most to understand,” explains Shaun-Anthony McPhail, Business Development Manager of the DMO group, including Sandton Oncology.

‘’This means that we can provide quicker treatment times for patients due to newer and faster software; treat more accurately, and to include more precise fields targeting the cancer cells which reduces the treatment side effects, improving the overall treatment experience for cancer patients.’’

There are very few machines of this calibre in Gauteng. The facility will soon include a 4D CT scanner for cancer treatment planning, image-guided radiation therapy, and gated radiation therapy. The capabilities of the radiotherapy department are further supported by the fact that Sandton Oncology is also a multi-disciplinary hospital. For the layman, this means that the hospital actively participates in two multi-disciplinary teams (MDT) committees that emphasise collaborative decision-making and treatment planning amongst an array of specialists involved throughout the cancer journey.

“Our two MDTs focus on Head and Neck cancer and Breast cancer,” says McPhail. “We established the Head and Neck MDT around 10 years ago. The core team members of the MDTs share their knowledge and make collective, evidence-based recommendations for holistic patient care. The panel of experts looks at a case and determines the best treatment pathways focused on optimal treatment outcomes where we consider the overall well-being of our patients.

The MDTs only focus on patients who have given their informed consent to participate in the forums and they cover the disciplines of surgery, radiation and medical oncology as well as rehabilitation. The goal is to grow these teams to focus on a variety of different cancer types, bringing professionals from different areas of expertise together to look at the best possible treatments from a multi-disciplinary perspective. MDTs are incredibly successful at finding new and innovative ways of treating patients holistically and underpin the centre’s commitment to quality care and treatment for its patients.

“Thanks to the work done by our MDTs we have been able to significantly reduce the emotional and financial burden on our patients,” says McPhail. “They are given a complete treatment plan from a panel of experts This not only cuts down on the costs involved but helps patients feel more supported and reassured that they are receiving the care they deserve.”

Quality of care and treatment is the ethos that defines every aspect of the new Sandton Oncology centre. As part of the ICON network, the facility is focused on creating services that meet patient care needs within a beautiful, modern setting. Transport services, counseling, skilled administrative support, and comfortable facilities make a huge difference to patient comfort and recovery.

“As an ICON member we are part of a network committed to delivering affordable cancer treatment to all our patients,” concludes McPhail. “If a medical aid denies treatment, we will motivate for payment using the research data provided by ICON about treatment outcomes and efficacy. In addition to incredible data and research, ICON ensures that we have access to the latest evidence-based information and are part of a respected network of peers. Every part of our new centre is built around the principles of Patient-Focused care.”