Demystifying Women’s Health

If you want to rile me up, you should talk about women’s health. Even the word, Women’s Health, annoys me. Why should only issues relating to my genitalia and my baby-making organs and my female hormones be referred to as Women’s Health, but the rest of me is… what? Men’s Health? And for that matter, why should cervical cancer or endometriosis or ovarian failure be the concern of women only? Just because men don’t get the disease does not mean that it does not affect them.

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Follow Friday: On The Other Side Of The Desk

I started blogging as a way of debriefing myself and in the process discovered a whole world of medical blogging. I have found mentors and colleagues all over the world, but I have also met people from the “other side”. I have gotten to know –  by means of what they choose to share with the world – people who sit on the other side of the physician’s desk. They have imparted knowledge and understanding that medical school could not, no matter how hard it tried.

Here are five blogs/twitters of people who unwittingly became my teachers – in no particular order.


Continue reading “Follow Friday: On The Other Side Of The Desk”

Scaring Kiddies… Unintentionally

When I rotated through Paediatric Oncology during my elective, I had some trouble. Remember how I wrote about the incredibly late detection of tumours – well, that is largely due to the fact that the Eastern Cape has a large rural population. Also, a lot of these children are first taken to traditional healers and only once these measures fail do they approach so-called “Western” doctors.

On the first day in the ward, things were a little haphazard and I wasn’t really introduced to the ward. Tired of standing around, I decided to show myself around. The children had had breakfast and were playing games or watching TV.

I walked into one of the larger rooms…

A child looked around, his eyes as big as saucers, his cheeks turned ashen.

And, running to his mother, he screamed,

Mama! Umlungu!

Which is Xhosa for, “Mommy! A white person!”

I blushed, and the other doctors and interns laughed. It turns out a lot of these children, who grow up in the deepest rural Eastern Cape, have only ever seen a “white person” from afar.

For some hilarious “Kids say the darndest things”, check out Trisha’s latest post here.

Paediatric Oncology in a South African Hospital

I’m spending some of my elective-time at a Paediatric Oncology ward. It was the thing (and incidentally also the exact ward) that started my tentative steps into the world of medicine many years ago.

In South Africa, common childhood malignancies include ALL (Acute Lymphocytic Leukaemia), Wilm’s Tumours (Nephroblastoma), malignancies of the CNS and Retinoblastoma. I have seen a significant number of kids with retinoblastomas or nephroblastomas (both of these rarely occur after the age of 8 and 5, respectively).

Continue reading “Paediatric Oncology in a South African Hospital”

Book Review: The Emperor of All Maladies

In 2012 I participate for the first time in a bookish challenge. Click here to see the different catagories. 

For the History category I read The Emperor of All Maladies by Siddhartha Mukherjee.

The Emperor of all Maladies is a biography: not of a person or a company, but of a disease – one of the most dreaded known in history. A biography of Cancer.

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Discussion with a Medical Oncologist

During a visit to Oncology… 

On curing cancer:

“People will tell you that cancer can’t be cured. But I’ll tell you this: Cancer is about the only disease that can be cured.

By and large, most diseases are not cured, they are managed. And there is nothing wrong with that.

Continue reading “Discussion with a Medical Oncologist”

Book Review: Steve Jobs

As a rule, I do not review non-medical books on this blog, unless it forms part of a Top Ten Tuesday. However, since my recent discovery of the myriad of book blogs, Goodreads and the ability to read while maintaining my schedule has led to me rather bravely attempting a bookish challenge, I have decided to blog about those books.

For the Biography category I read Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson. Continue reading “Book Review: Steve Jobs”