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A first for kids and young people with cancer.

Written By Prieshka Taylor

Specialist team unites to fight cancer in young people.

Friday, 16 June 2023: On Youth Day, Icon Oncology and Cancercare are proud to announce a new collaboration which will establish a dedicated cancer treatment unit for young people in the Western Cape and beyond.

Crayon, a specialist Paediatric, Adolescent and Young Adult Oncology unit based in the northern suburbs of the Cape Metropole, is the first of its kind in the country. It promises to tackle childhood cancer head on. Taking fear out of treatment and ensuring a positive journey to better health for young patients.

The brainchild of oncologist, Dr Johann Riedemann, the Crayon unit based at Cape Gate Oncology Centre, will offer an integrated service with a multidisciplinary team of clinical, surgical and allied health professionals ready for action.

Dr Johann Riedemann, Oncologist, Cancercare

“Young people living with a cancer diagnosis require a very different approach than that used for adults. At Crayon we tailor support that addresses each patient’s specific medical, emotional, social, and developmental needs. At its heart is our newly formed multidisciplinary team, who are devoted to delivering the best possible care for young patients. This all in a safe and welcoming environment,” explains Dr Riedemann.

Multidisciplinary team

Dr Riedemann states that a team of highly skilled individuals has come together to provide personalised care for every patient. “We have some of the most brilliant minds in their respective fields on our team and every patient case is discussed and carefully considered.  The main goal is to ensure safe and effective treatment whilst also creating a system for ongoing care and survivorship to address any potential consequences of the disease process and associated therapy,” says Dr Riedemann.

Crayon offers a patient-centred approach that considers the unique needs of children, adolescents, young adults and their families to ensure successful outcomes while minimising long-term risk. Crayon’s radiation and medical oncology team includes experts in paediatric medical and surgical care, systemic treatment planning, precision radiotherapy techniques, radiology expertise, child psychology, nutritional well-being and rehabilitation.

Access to state-of-the-art-technology

Dr Riedemann is a clinical radiation and molecular oncologist at Cancercare and a network oncologist of Icon Oncology. This enables him and his team to deliver precision radiation therapy and radiosurgery, utilising a modern fleet of linear accelerators (linacs) across the Western and Eastern Cape.

The radiation treatment of young children with cancer can be overwhelming for patients, parents, siblings and caretakers. “Paediatric radiation therapy for our really young patients is challenging, this is why we’ve made every effort to make the patient experience as comfortable as possible,” says Dr Riedemann.

This includes dedicated consulting, pre-treatment and recovery rooms at the Cape Gate Oncology Centre. This child-and-teen friendly environment awards privacy, reduces anxiety and creates a safe-space for parents and our little patients,” says Dr Riedemann.

Clinical focus

Crayon’s focus is on solid tumour pathology which includes nervous system cancers, head and neck cancers, nasopharynx, lung cancers, abdominal cancers, soft tissue cancer and urogenital cancers. Blood cancer (leukaemias) is a separate specialist field and treated by paediatric haematologist-oncologists.

Passion project

Crayon is the culmination of years of work, putting together a ‘dream team’ and a passion to address the rising incidence of cancer in younger people. “It is a dream come true, thanks to the passion and dedication from a team of exceptional humans. Together we are tackling childhood cancer. Taking fear out of treatment and ensuring a positive journey to better health for our young patients, says Dr Riedemann.   

For more information visit: www.cancercrayon.co.za