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#leukaemiaawareness: The importance of palliative care

16 August 2023

By  Jani de Beer

Palliative care teams specialise in symptom management, pain control and psychosocial support.

In commemoration of Bone Marrow and Leukaemia Awareness Month , Hospice East Rand reaffirmed that comprehensive palliative care could help patients of all ages through every stage of treatment for the disease.

Leukaemia, part of the bone marrow disease spectrum, is characterised by the uncontrolled increase in white blood cells.

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“Symptoms relating to blood cancers vary but may include pain, fatigue, slow healing of cuts and bruises, frequent nosebleeds, fever or night sweats, recurring difficult-to-fight infections, unexplained weight loss, achy bones and joints and depression or anxiety.”

In the fight against this life-threatening condition, bone marrow transplants, referred to as blood stem cell transplants, are crucial.

Transplants of this nature are sourced from donor cells and were proven successful in replacing unhealthy blood-forming cells with healthy ones.

However, the search for viable donor cells and the treatment may often be lengthy, leaving patients and their families feeling overwhelmed and isolated by the diagnosis.

When diagnosed with a life-limiting or threatening disease, palliative care alongside curative treatment can significantly enhance a patient’s journey.

“Palliative care teams specialise in symptom management, pain control and psychosocial support,” explained Jonquil Siepman, the marketing and media liaison for Hospice East Rand.

“These trained professionals work closely with patients and their families, facilitating open, honest conversations about treatment options, goals and values.”

“This leads to improved care co-ordination, ensuring treatments align with personal preferences.”
Siepman further said that enlisting the help of the hospice palliative care team was not an indication that the individual’s life was nearing its end but empowered patients, granting them the opportunity to have a quality life while enhancing their ability to tolerate medical treatments.

“Palliative care can be received alongside treatments aimed at curing the cancer, with studies indicating that accessing this form of care during the early stages of illness yields significant benefits,” she said.

“With care rendered in the comfort of your own home, palliative care can provide valuable support to help manage symptoms stemming from the disease and associated treatment.”

The dedicated team of trained doctors, professional nurses and social workers are committed to providing comprehensive support while seamlessly working with other healthcare providers, ensuring transparent care for the patient.

To learn more about palliative care and its benefits, visit www.hospiceeastrand.co.za.

Source: African Reporter

Bone Marrow Stem Cell Donation and Leukaemia Awareness Month 2023

Leukaemia is a group of bone marrow diseases involving an uncontrolled increase in white blood cells (leukocytes). There is around a 30% chance of a sibling being a bone marrow match, meaning that there is a 70% chance that someone will need a transplant from a non-related donor. Each year, 35 people in every million learn that they have leukaemia of whom five will be children.

As opposed to a few different blood types, there are millions of different types of cell tissue. The success of a patient’s transplant depends on finding a match, otherwise their body will reject it.

DKMS Africa(link is external) was formed in 1999 to create awareness for the need of donors. It was formed by parents whose children had contracted leukaemia, and in some cases had lost their battle against it.

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