New specialist takes challenge in her stride
Working alongside an established team of oncology medics might be an intimidating task but not for Frere Hospital’s new radiation oncology specialist.
Born and raised in Durban, 30-year-old doctor Shahistha Naidoo joined the hospital’s cancer unit as the only other radiation oncology specialist, alongside oncology head Dr Dishnu Pokharel.
Speaking to the Daily Dispatch, Naidoo said the ever-changing research and technological advances in radiation therapy treatment led her to becoming a specialist in the field.
“I enjoy the work that I do in helping cancer patients,” Naidoo said.
“There’s a lot to be done for them and I want to do more in future.”
She works with a team of radiotheraphists daily to do radiation planning, prescribe treatment suitable for each cancer case and monitor the progress of patients. “We have holistic multidisciplinary care for all our patients.
“An entire team decides on the management of the patients.”
“We treat a very big population and it has increased over the years.”
Naidoo said increased cancer education had more people coming forward earlier to receive oncology treatment.
“The disease is being picked up sooner now because people are going for screenings and pap smears and mammograms.”
Because of her small frame, she’s mistaken for a young girl in the wards, but Naidoo believes her passion for her work draws patients to her.
“When you decide to be a doctor you go in knowing about the long working hours and the strain you work under.
“I haven’t enjoyed anything as much as my work.
“With each patient you try to do your very best.
“It’s quite fulfilling to see patients keep their hope despite being so sick,” she said.