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Welcome To Dr Johann Riedemann

Written By Joedene

The Cancercare group is proud to welcome Dr Johann Riedemann, who recently joined and is based at the Cape Gate unit. He completed his medical degree at the University of Stellenbosch (US) and his internship and community service at Karl Bremer and Western Cape Rehabilitation hospitals respectively. 

Prior to becoming a clinician, he obtained BSc, HonsBSc and MSc (Molecular) also from the US. He holds a PhD (Molecular Oncology) from the Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine (Oxford, Cancer Research UK) and was a fellow in precision oncology at the University of Oxford. He worked as a clinical research fellow and registrar at Groote Schuur and Red Cross Children’s Hospitals and completed the fellowship of radiation oncologists (CMSA) in 2020.

Since his move to Cancercare, he has established a platform to offer systemic treatment to adolescents and young adults, as well as a dedicated pediatric radiation oncology service.    

When asked why he chose this specialisation, he replies “It’s a very tricky field. You’re facing many challenges, especially when navigating the possible long-term effects on children, which may sometimes only surface after many years. It is incredibly challenging, but also very satisfying.”

The Cancercare Group is well established as a leading provider of holistic oncology treatment in South Africa. The Cape Gate unit works in close collaboration with a multidisciplinary team of pathologists, radiologists, surgeons, paediatricians and other health professionals who support the patient journey and facilitate optimal evidence-based decision making. These include dietitians, clinical psychologists, physios, occupational therapists, speech therapists, encompassing every aspect of pediatric and adolescent care. The palliative care team encompasses a social worker that helps families and patients through this difficult time. The group also works closely with the Reach for a Dream foundation who arrange special requests and surprises for the children. 

“What truly makes this unit special is the wonderful team of health care professionals that include nurses, doctors and support staff, who are always working towards making treatments as comfortable as possible for all patients. We all work as a massive supportive team” says Dr Riedemann.

Cancercare also offers state of the art precision radiotherapy. We use linear accelerators to conform and shape 3D pockets of energy to cancerous tissue and simultaneously spare surrounding normal tissue from hazardous side effects.  

Statistics reveal that 10 million people die from cancer every year, many of which are preventable. World Cancer Day takes place on the 4th of February every year, this year under the theme ‘closing the care gap’ and bringing attention to preventative cancers. Dr Riedemann’s message is clear.

“From my perspective, I feel it is important that we bridge the gap between the academic and private sector. I previously participated as a member of the pediatric brain tumour consortium at the Red Cross War Memorial Hospital and will now further discuss complex pediatric oncology cases at the local Tygerberg Academic Hospital multidisciplinary team meetings. We also need to start looking at ways of funding treatments as well as access to advanced technology. Many patients simply do not have the funding to sustain their care. From an outreach perspective, Cancercare has opened satellite branches in outlying areas for example Worcester, as a tactic to extend our reach for care geographically. This is particularly significant for children and adolescents living great distances from primary centres of expertise – we are bridging the spatial gap.“

Cancercare plays a key role in the treatment of hundreds of patients and their families. We are thrilled to have Dr Riedemann here to walk the journey with us.