Prostate Cancer Treatment in South Africa

Prostate Cancer Treatment in South Africa

Prostate cancer is the cancer of prostate gland. The cells of prostate glands divide abnormally leading to the formation of a tumor. This causes hindrance in the normal urinary function and various other symptoms are experienced by the patient. People above the age of 40 are at risk for developing this disease and the risk increase significantly after the age of 65 years. Prostate cancer is not common in the people below the age of 40 years. The prostate gland is present in the abdominal region just beside the urinary tract. The function of this gland is to provide protection and nutrition to the sperms and the secretion of prostate forms the part of semen.

The screening of prostate cancer is done through the PSA (Prostate Specific Antigen) Testing, however reduction of death due to prostate cancer through the screening is controversial as the test does not provide a conclusive result. PSA is secreted in higher concentration by the malignant prostate cells and the high level of this antigen in the blood may indicate the presence of cancer. However, the concentration of PSA may also increase in Benign Prostate Hyperplasia and Prostatitis. In some cases, the level of PSA is not increased even in the presence of cancer.

Various hospitals in South Africa are capable of successfully treating, managing or during prostate cancer. Some are Multispeciality hospitals with a separate department of urology while some hospitals such as The Urology Hospital are exclusively dedicated to urological disorders. As a leader for medical facilities in the African continent, the country has access to the latest technology and experienced doctors. Every year, thousands of patients from developed and developing countries such as Europe, USA, and Africa visits South Africa for medical treatment.

Evidence-based treatment is one of the USP of South Africa when it comes to Prostate cancer treatment. All the treatment available for prostate cancer is performed in South Africa such as Radiotherapy, Surgery, and Brachytherapy. The best treatment strategy depends upon the condition of the patient.

Treatment and Cost

25

Total Days
In Country

2 No. Travelers

5 Day in Hospital

20 Days Outside Hospital

Treatment cost starts from

USD 27000

Hospitals

About the Prostate Cancer Treatment

The prostate is a gland in the male reproductive system, which makes fluid that forms an essential part of the semen. Prostate cancer starts when cells of the prostate glands begin to grow abnormally

Prostate cancer is one of the leading cancers in men above the age of 60. In most of the cases, it is slow growing and may even go undetected and do not cause any problem. However, in some cases, it could be aggressive and cancer cells can spread to other parts of the body (metastatic prostate cancer)

Prostate cancer is a very slow growing disease and starts with tiny alterations in the shape and size of the prostate gland cells. The prostate cancer risk increases with age and it is rarely observed before the age of 40. That is the main reason why many men die of old age, without ever knowing that they had prostate cancer.

Prostate Cancer Causes

There is no direct prostate cancer causes. However, there are some factors that can increase the risk of prostate cancer, including the following:

  • Consumption of diet rich in red meat and high fat dairy products
  • Less consumption of vegetables and fruits
  • Obesity
  • Family history of the disease
  • Smoking and alcohol consumption
  • Sexually transmitted infections

Types of Prostate Cancer

Usually, prostate cancer means the cancer of prostate gland cells called prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia (PIN). Almost all the prostate cancers are adenocarcinomas, but there are some other types of prostate cancer as well, including the following:

  • Sarcomas
  • Small-cell carcinomas
  • Neuroendocrine tumors (other than small cell carcinomas)
  • Transitional cell carcinomas

Prostate Cancer Classification

Based on how abnormal the patterns of cancer cells look, prostate cancers are classified as:

  • Low-grade PIN: In this, the pattern of prostate cells appears almost normal
  • High-grade PIN: In this, the pattern of cells looks a bit abnormal

Signs of Prostate Cancer

There are no warning signs of prostate cancer. The symptoms of metastatic prostate cancer usually appear first in the region that the cancer cells have invaded.

After cancer causes the prostate gland to swell, the following signs of prostate cancer may be experienced: 

  • Frequent urination, especially at night
  • Difficulty starting or stopping the stream of urine
  • Weak urine stream and inability to urinate
  • Pain and burning sensation during urination and ejaculation
  • Blood in urine or semen

In prostate cancer stages, the following symptoms may also be there:

  • Pain in spine, pelvis or ribs
  • Leg weakness
  • Urinary incontinence
  • Fecal incontinence

How is Prostate Cancer Treatment performed?

Treatment for prostate cancer can be divided into early stage and advanced stage. Your doctor will choose the best suitable treatment for you, depending on the stage and classification of prostate cancer, your age, and overall health status. Although, your feelings, expected lifespan, and your opinion will play a major role in choosing the right kind of treatment.

The most common treatment options for prostate cancer include the following:

Watchful waiting or active surveillance

No immediate treatment is carried out, but the patient is followed up at regular intervals to see the progression of the disease. This method is used in elderly patients with short life expectancy and in case of an early disease.

Surgery

The main type of prostate surgery is called radical prostatectomy. In this, cancerous tissues are removed by a surgical operation. A long cut in the abdomen is needed in this surgery, depending on the extent and stage of cancer.

However, a keyhole surgery for prostate cancer using a laparoscope or robot is also available. These treatments have good success rates but may result in certain long-term side effects such as sexual dysfunction, narrowing of the urethra, and urinary incontinence.

Radiotherapy

High-intensity beams are used in this treatment to destroy the cancer cells in the prostate. Radiotherapy can be administered via needles implanted into the prostate, under ultrasound guidance or as an external beam. Radiotherapy can be used after surgery if the resection of cancer tissue has not been completed.

There are two types of radiotherapy for prostate cancer:

Conformal radiotherapy

In this, the radiation beams are shaped so that the region where they overlap is as close to the same shape as the organ that requires treatment. It minimizes healthy tissue exposure to radiation.

Intensity-modulated radiotherapy:

In this, the beams with variable intensity are used. It is an advanced form of conformal radiotherapy. It is usually delivered with the help of a computer-controlled linear accelerator.

Hormone therapy

Hormone therapy involves the use of medications that suppress testosterone levels. They are used as primary treatment and in advanced cases or Stage 4 prostate cancer.

Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy is a kind of advance drug treatment in which strong medications are used to kill the cancer cells and prevent it from spreading. It is used when the prostate cancer is not controlled by hormonal treatment. Chemotherapy is selected only for treatment of Stage 4 prostate cancer and when the patient can cope with it.

Cryotherapy

This treatment uses extremely cold temperatures to freeze and destroy cancer tissues in the prostate. Cryotherapy is the best option for treating recurrent prostate cancer, especially if initial radiation therapy did not kill enough cancer cells. The surgeon inserts an ultra-thin metal probe or needle into the prostate gland, from which a freezing liquid, such as liquid nitrogen or more commonly, argon gas, is infused into the prostate gland.  

Other local ablation

Some treatments such as radiofrequency and high intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) are used to treat early prostate cancer or when the patient is not fit for a major surgery.

Recovery from Prostate Cancer Treatment

  • Patients may suffer from some immediate and long-term side effects after the treatment. However, they may expect the doctor to guide them on how to control and manage the side effects.
  • Recovery after prostate cancer treatment takes time. You may expect yourself to go for regular follow up visits with the doctor, who will check on your progress and any signs of cancer coming back. You may have to follow a strict diet and avoid certain physical activities for a speedy recovery.
  • Additionally, a dietician will share a plan with you at the time of discharge. You should try to stick to the plan and maintain a healthy lifestyle to ensure that the recovery time after treatment is minimal.
  • If you’ve had a prostate surgery, you will have a catheter in place to drain urine for a day or two. Hospital discharge takes place after about two days after the surgery. Most of the patients are able to return to their normal routine in about two weeks’ time.

Patient Stories

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the causes of Prostate Cancer?

Prostate cancer is the malignancy of the prostate cells. The oncogene in these cells becomes dominant over the tumor suppressor gene leading to uncontrolled growth. The exact cause of this cancer is not known, however, research on a various patient suffering from prostate cancer reveals that certain factors increase the risk of cancer:

a) Age: Risk of prostate cancer increase with age. The risk increases after 40 years of age and people over the age of 65 years have high risk.

b) Race: Statistics shows that the risk of developing prostate cancer is increased in individuals of a certain race. African American men are at higher risk as compared to Caucasian or Hispanic men.

c) Diet: Diet also plays an important role in developing prostate cancer. Dust rush in animal fat and red meat increases risk. Further, obesity is another factor to be looked upon as obesity is also linked to prostate cancer.

d) Testosterone level: Increase in testosterone level increases the risk of prostate cancer. High level of testosterone increases the growth of the prostate gland.

e) Lifestyle: People who excessively drink or smoke are at a higher risk of developing cancer.

f) Prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia: Presence of Prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia, an abnormal condition of the prostate gland, raises the risk of this cancer.

g) Family History: People whose close relatives i.e. father, brother or son had diagnosed with cancer, are at increased risk.

h) Genomic changes: Mutation in genes such as BRCA 1 and BRCA 2 increases the risk of prostate cancer.

i) Prostate diseases: The risk of prostate cancer is also increased due to the presence of underlying diseases such as Benign Prostate Hyperplasia or Prostatitis.

What is the average cost of Prostate Cancer Treatment in South Africa?

The average cost of prostate cancer treatment in South Africa is significantly lower as compared to the US and many other countries. This is the reason that many patients visit South Africa for the treatment of prostate cancer, especially through robotic surgery. The average cost of robotic surgery in South Africa is approximately $10000 however, it may vary depending upon the city, hospital or the doctor performing the surgery. Also, the cost of treatment depends upon the age and the speed of recovery.

What are the types of surgeries available in South Africa for Prostate Cancer Treatment?

Surgeries for prostate cancer are performed with high success rates in South Africa, thanks to the extensively experienced urologists and modern technologies along with highly trained support staff that works tirelessly before, during and post-surgery. Following are the various surgeries available for prostate cancer in South Africa:

1) Robotic-Assisted Surgery: Robotic-assisted surgery has changed the way of performing the prostatectomy. Through this technique, surgeons can perform complex prostatectomy with ease and precision.

2) Open Prostatectomy: This surgery is performed manually by the surgeon. This surgery is generally conducted to remove the areas, other than the prostate gland, in which cancer has spread such as lymph nodes.

3) Laparoscopic Surgery: Laparoscopic surgery is the part of a minimally invasive procedure. A small incision is made on the abdomen to insert the instruments along with the tube with a camera at the end to assist the removal of the prostate gland.

What is the recovery process post-treatment in South Africa for Prostate Cancer?

Recovery from prostate surgery depends upon various factors. These factors include age, response to post-surgical treatment, level of immunity and complications due to surgery. With the high-tech techniques used in South Africa, the sexual activity takes just 3-4 months after surgery, while previously it requires almost a year or more and that too with only 50% activity.  Vital nerves are prevented from damage leading to less recovery period. Further, the recovery period with modern technology is less due to a minimally invasive procedure, reduced blood loss and fewer complications. The hospital day is reduced to 3 days from 6 days in the past leading to lesser treatment cost. Urinary process in robotic-assisted surgery requires less time to get normal. The catheter used for urination would remove after 2-3 weeks of surgery. Pain, swelling, and constipation are treated with the medications. The patient may be able to walk and eat a normal diet within 24 hours to 48 hours after surgery. The complete recovery may take about 4 weeks.

Which are the top hospitals for Prostate Cancer Treatment in South Africa?

Various hospitals in South Africa are well equipped to treat patients suffering from prostate cancer. These hospitals are situated in major cities of South Africa such as Johannesburg, Port Elizabeth, and Cape Town. Following are the top hospitals:

1) Netcare Chris Barnard Memorial Hospital, Cape Town

2) Waterfall City Hospital, Madrand

3) The Urology Hospital, Pretoria

4) UCT Private Academic Hospital, Cape Town

5) Ahmed Kathrada Private Hospital, Johannesburg

6) Netcare Greenacres Hospital, Port Elizabeth

Who are the top Doctors and Surgeons for Prostate Cancer Treatment in South Africa

There are a number of sought after Prostate Cancer Surgeons in South Africa. Some of the most prominent ones are listed below:

1) Dr. Greg Boustead, Netcare Chris Barnard Memorial Hospital, Cape Town

2) Dr. Lance Coetzee, The Urology Hospital, Pretoria

3) Dr. Howlett Justin, UCT Private Academic Hospital, Cape Town

4) Dr. Stephen M. Eppel, Netcare Christiaan Barnard Memorial Hospital, Cape Town

5) Dr. Ahsan Ahmad, Ahmed Kathrada Private Hospital, Johannesburg

6) Dr. Van Heerden, The Urology Hospital, Pretoria

7) Dr. Johannes Brummer, Netcare Greenacres Hospital, Port Elizabeth

8) Dr. Johan Coetzee, Netcare Greenacres Hospital, Port Elizabeth

What is the health care infrastructure of South Africa / Why should opt for South Africa as a destination for your medical treatment?
Like most countries, hospitals in South Africa are based upon public and private healthcare systems. There are three main levels of healthcare based upon the payment method of the patient.
  • The full paying patients are those who usually prefer to be treated by a doctor working in the private sector. They can also be funded by an external source. Many non-South African citizens also prefer this treatment service.
  • Fully subsidized patients are those who have been referred from a Primary Healthcare Service Hospital.
  • Partially subsidized patients are patients whose costs are subsidized based on the amount of their income.
The public healthcare system has three main centers for health under its wing:
  • Clinics - These are run by trained professionals and nurses. They can serve as the first point of contact for a patient.
  • Community Healthcare Centre - This is a bigger setup, complete with full-fledged services and doctors and nurses.
  • Hospital - A patient usually gets here after a referral from a clinic or community health center. One can also go in for emergencies. A hospital provides various services like performing surgery and treating chronic illnesses.
Hospitals in South Africa are gearing up to tackle major illnesses and to provide better treatment options. The South African government is also working to introduce policies and towards accommodating more patients from all across the world. It is a great country to find affordable treatment options.
What are the conditions of the hospitals in South Africa? Are they JCI certified? What is the quality of the support staff in the hospitals
The Joint Commission International (JCI) accredits and certifies most health care organizations and programs all around the world. Joint Commission International Accreditation and Certification is recognized as the global leader for health care quality of care and patient safety.
Are the doctors/surgeons in South Africa of the best quality?
Doctors associated with Medigence are of the best quality. We hope to give our patients a pleasant experience and the best doctors we can find. Since South Africa has a lot of requirements in the field of healthcare, the country attracts doctors from all over the world to contribute their services. This can help to ensure that even you receive the best quality of doctors.
What is the process for obtaining a medical visa in South Africa?
One can apply for a visa to South Africa for a period of 90 days. The High Commission of India can then help one decide for how long a visa can be extended. This usually differs from person to person. The Medical Visa allows a person to stay for a maximum of six months with a valid visa. After this, one can go to the FRO office ( Foreigner’s Registration Office ) or FRRO (Foreigner's Regional Registration Office) and request for an extension. Do note that the validity of a visa begins on the day it is issued by the High Commission of India and not on the date of departure. Applications for visas will not be accepted more than 30 days prior to departure.
What support services does MediGence provide in the United Arab Emirates?
MediGence enables you to plan and manage your medical decisions better. These are some of our services offered:
  • Expert Opinion
    We help you seek an Expert Opinion on your diagnosis and treatment from an experienced team of doctors at MediGence and specialists from a reputable hospital.
  • Hospital Recommendation
    We recommend a hospital or a healthcare institution that is best suited for you, based on your ailment and its criticality.
  • 360-degree Hospital Review
    We give you a transparent and holistic view of the hospital and its infrastructure, accreditation, facilities, and expertise to give you confidence.
  • Doctor Validation and Communication
    We share a comprehensive profile of the treating doctor and also arrange a call to clear queries regarding treatment if needed.
  • Options to Choose From
    Based on your choice of destination and other preferences, we provide you multiple options with respect to hospitals and doctors to choose from.
  • 24X7 Patient Care Support
    A dedicated patient case manager stays in constant touch with you to help you at every step of the decision-making process and resolve queries that you may have.
  • Transparent Treatment Cost and Other Expenses
    We give a clear and accurate indication of the total cost of treatment including treatment, stay, meals, and other expenses.
  • Visa Assistance
    We provide and help prepare documentation for visa approval and coordinate with the embassy to expedite the visa process.
  • Accommodation Arrangements
    We propose to you a choice of accommodation based on your preference such as long stay, short stay, or luxury properties.
Which are the best cities in South Africa for medical treatment?
While many cities are striving to create some of the best hospitals in South Africa, Durban, Lenasia, and Cape Town already have some very good hospitals for treatment in South Africa. Located in Durban, Ethekwini Hospital and Heart Centre is a reasonable and affordable hospital in South Africa. Life Kingsbury Hospital in Capetown provides a holistic healing environment for patients. One can also opt for the Ahmed Kathrada Private Hospital in Lenasia. This hospital has been running for nearly 30 years now and various medical facilities can be availed from here.

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