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Breast Cancer: Prevention and Control Policies launched

The Breast Cancer Prevention and Control Policy addresses breast cancer awareness, prevention, treatment and care in South Africa. It provides the clinical support for women, who are both at-risk of developing the disease later in life and are currently undergoing treatment, to survive and live healthy lives. As the cancer with the highest incidence in South African women, breast cancer has been identified as a national priority in South Africa. As per the National Cancer Registry in 2013, 8 132 new cases of breast were observed, accounting for 22% of all cancers diagnosed in women that year. CANSA is therefore delighted that this updated policy, to which we have contributed has recently been launched.

Upon launching this policy, the health minister, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi, stated that given the recent advances in medicine and technology, the National Department of Health (NDoH) has a tremendous opportunity to attack breast cancer energetically and effectively with a revised national programme. This updated policy entails the implementation of interdependent strategies: (i) increasing early recognition of breast cancer, (ii) treating breast cancer more effectively, and (iii) providing timely treatment and palliative care for invasive cancer. It also includes the administration of Herceptin for early stage cancer at designated sites nationally.

It is envisaged that this policy, along with the accompanying programme implementation strategy and clinical guidelines, will be applied in the public sector at all levels of the health system thereby positively contributing to reducing breast cancer incidence and mortality rates as well as improving the quality of life for women in South Africa.

CANSA was among those acknowledged for their contribution to the development of the policy.

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