Groote Schuur Hospital leads the way in treating tumors | Western Cape Government



Groote Schuur Hospital leads the way in treating tumors

26 October 2021

Groote Schuur Hospital is taking the lead again by being the first state hospital in the Western Cape to perform the Microwave Ablation (MWA) on patients. This is a technique in which can be used to kill tumor cells - in this case heat energy in the form of microwaves via a special microwave machine and an applicator which is positioned in the tumor. Microwave Ablation can also be used in lung cancer cases on primary and secondary tumors of a certain size where patients are not able to undergo surgery.


“The procedure is performed under Computed Tomography guidance using a special Microwave Ablation machine. The patient is put asleep using general anesthesia. The lung cancer is located using Computed Tomography scanning and then a special applicator attached to the microwave machine is inserted into the tumor. The microwaves are emitted via the machine into the tumor for a few minutes depending on the size of the tumor and the frequency of the microwaves used,” explained Dr Qonita Said-Hartley, Consultant Radiologist at the hospital.


The first patient treated using this technique was a 68-year-old. who was referred with a history of previous lung resection for lung cancer as well as a history of previous renal cancer. The small right lung nodule on her follow-up Computed Tomography scan was getting bigger and was then biopsied, confirming a new lung cancer rather than spread from the renal cancer. Unfortunately, the patient was not a surgical candidate because of reduced lung volume and function. which made for  a good candidate for Microwave ablation and the fact the cancer was in the early stage,” added Dr Said-Hartley.


Mrs Gladys Ganief is very happy to be the first patient to get the technique done at the hospital. “This procedure I would do any day. Everything went so much quicker and there was no chest drains and Intensive Care stay,” she happily added.

Mrs. Gladys Ganief coming for her check-up.

Mrs. Gladys Ganief coming for her check-up.


Commenting on the success of the treatment technique, Dr Said-Hartley  said: “Patient selection is very important in this process and the entire multi-disciplinary team is involved in the decision-making process once patients are referred.  Patients are admitted to the thoracic surgical ward either on the day or a day before the procedure, and when done the patient can be discharged the following day if no complication occurs.

“It is a privilege to have been able to perform this first of its kind procedure because it allows for a relatively non-invasive form of treatment for patients who would not be able to tolerate surgery in the state sector. This is considered a first world treatment and provide patients with a good quality of life and improved survival,” according to Dr Said-Hartley. 


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