The system offers optical and Electromagnetic (EM) tracking capabilities More precision in locating the tumor, increased cure rates, more patient safety 

Hospital 57357’s neuro-surgery department is the major treatment center throughout Egypt and the surrounding region for childhood brain tumors (most common pediatric solid tumor), recording a 65 % over-all survival rate. In fact, it has become the only referral center for the most difficult cases of brain and nervous system tumors. This would not have been possible without 57357’s professional neuro-oncology team and its acquisition of cutting-edge technology in care delivery including the latest versions of the intra-operative MRI. Lately, thanks to ECN U.S.donors, the department received the latest neurosurgical navigation system “neuronavigation with tractography, Stealth S8”.

 We had the pleasure of chatting with Dr. Mohamed Al Biltagy, head of 57357’s neuro-surgery department. Excerpts of the interview:

M.D.:  Is it true that the incidence rate of pediatric brain cancer in Egypt is the second highest one after leukemia? And what are the reasons behind brain tumors in children and infants?

Dr.M.B: Yes ….In fact leukemia and brain cancer are the most common types of pediatric cancer but we cannot be precise about the exact ratios for Egypt because of the absence of reliable statistics Regarding brain tumors in children and specifically in infants , the heredity factor plays an important role. But latest research indicate that other factors might be the cause namely the exposure of the infant or the mother during pregnancy to electromagnetic waves or negative rays. The more technology progresses, the more the danger is greater.

M.D.: Is it true that Egypt has one of the highest rates of cancer incidence?

Dr.M.B.:  cannot affirm that the rate  of cancer incidence in Egypt exceeds that of the world as we have no statistics, for example in Hospital  57357 we receive 7 to 9 new cases everyday which is a big number, in addition to the other cancer institutions, but we need statistics to affirm that. I tried to gather statistics and I asked the other institutions to send me the number of patients they receive but they didn’t respond. Such statistics should be carried out by the ministry of health.

M.D.: How can we protect children and adults against cancer?

Dr.M.B.: Regarding children, there are two types, the overprotected child who is isolated from playing with other children, such a child would have weak immunity, accordingly it’s easier to get cancer; on the other hand, the child who plays in the street and is exposed to pollution and infections all the time may catch cancer easily. Same for adults, so normal life is the most recommended with a diet based on vegetables and fruits and the practicing of sports; all of which will boost the immunity system and consequently protect against cancer.

M.D.: Did the survival rate in pediatric brain cancer reach the international one?

M.B.: I can only talk about 57357, the survival rate is between 65% and 70% and the treatment is usually by surgery followed by radiotherapy or chemotherapy.

M.D.: What is the role of the new navigation equipment that the Hospital received lately, in brain and neuro surgeries?

Dr.M.B.: We had an older version of this equipment, but we received the world’s latest version which is called “neuronavigation with tractography S8”. It precisely locates anatomical structures in either open or percutaneous procedures. The equipment helps avoiding complications in cases where the tumor interferes with functions centers such as vision and motion centers, accordingly provides patients with more protection, and raises recovery rate for this type of tumor to 90% to 95%.

M.D.: How did you locate the tumor before receiving this device?

Dr. M.B.: Before this equipment we used to depend on experience, brain anatomy study and MRI to track the tumor, which pushed us in some complicated cases to leave a big part of the tumor to avoid sensitive spots of the brain. The new device tracks surgical instruments in real time, based on preoperative and intraoperative images. Hence the equipment helps avoiding complications in cases where the tumor interferes with function centers, accordingly provides patients with more protection.

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