CANSA Closing the Gap in Cancer Care
24 January 2022 – This World Cancer Day (4 February), CANSA and the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) are calling on everyone to use their influence to help ‘close the gap in cancer care’. The new three-year campaign calls for action to address the issue of unfair access to cancer services. The campaign aims to promote greater equity in health care provision for all people affected by cancer, no matter who they are or where they live. View Infographic…
#CloseTheCareGap #WorldCancerDay #CANSACares
Elize Joubert, CANSA CEO, explains how CANSA is actively working to close the gap in cancer care: “Cancer patients in our country may have a very different experience regarding access to cancer screening services, receiving timeous diagnoses, cancer treatment and support, depending on their socioeconomic status and where they live. This may lead to wide differences in the risks of developing and surviving cancer. This gap needs to be overcome and CANSA is tirelessly working towards reducing this inequity.”
Early detection is key to overcoming a cancer diagnosis, but people who live in remote areas don’t always have access to information on how to lower their cancer risk or to cancer screening. CANSA helps close the gap in cancer care by partnering with organisations such as Hollard Daredevil, Avon Justine and ILoveBoobies to sponsor mobile health clinic visits in remote areas to offer these services, which would otherwise be inaccessible.
Joubert adds, “Many patients can’t afford transport to or accommodation near treatment centres and live far away. Our CANSA Care Homes meet their needs by providing a home-away-from-home, including meals and transport, making it possible for patients who would otherwise not be able to, to receive treatment. And our CANSA TLC Lodges accommodate parents of children receiving treatment, providing families with food and care packages to help them cope with the costs associated with treatment.”
CANSA offers free counselling through its Tele Counselling service, in seven languages, as well as Tele Stoma support making counselling and stoma support accessible to all. The CANSA website also provides free online resources and links to support groups for cancer patients, caregivers and loved ones.
Fighting Cancer Together
Lorraine Govender, CANSA National Manager: Health Promotion, agrees that partnerships are critical in helping CANSA to close the care gap by spreading the message of awareness of symptoms, early detection and lowering cancer risk effectively.
“We provide information regarding the top cancers affecting men and women in South Africa and we’re grateful to partners who help us do so. Cervical cancer is the second most common cancer among South African women, but the cancer women die of most in our country. Stigma and ostracization surrounding cervical cancer can make women reluctant to seek cancer screening. We help break down the stigma through educational campaigns that include radio spots and a video.”
Lung cancer, another prevalent cancer among men and women, is often diagnosed too late. This concern led to CANSA forming a partnership with the University of KwaZulu-Natal for a Multinational Lung Cancer Control Programme (UKZN-MLCCP). The goal is to improve local communities’ knowledge and awareness of lung cancer, its risk factors and symptoms, through CANSA trained MLCCP Volunteers and to positively impact attitudes towards lung cancer, screening and palliative care. A lung cancer awareness video was produced to reach a wider audience with information to promote early detection.
“Men also face the negative effects of gender discrimination and societal and cultural taboos. Social norms surrounding masculinity may make them less willing to discuss health concerns and consider available life-saving procedures, for early-stage prostate cancer. CANSA recently launched a monthly Men Supporting Men online support group to help men cope with a cancer diagnosis and treatment,” added Govender.
Training to Close the Care Gap
CANSA’s Head of Advocacy, Zodwa Sithole is presenting training to Traditional Health Practitioners nationally from 26 January to 23 March 2022, to provide education around prevalent cancers, treatment, side effects, and the importance of early detection and quick referral for treatment. In this way CANSA aims to close the care gap regarding delays in cancer diagnosis and receiving timeous treatment in communities who depend upon Traditional Health Practitioners for advice. Course materials will be provided in the official languages of South Africa to make this information accessible to all.
WCD 21 Days to Impact Challenge:
Sign up to one of three 21 Day challenges to receive daily inspiration and practical guidance per email: close the care gap; focus on your health or eliminate cervical cancer. Throughout the 21 Days to Impact Challenge, you’ll be encouraged every single day for 21 days to make an impact through small, but meaningful actions.
Visit https://cansa.org.za/category/world-cancer-day-4-feb/ for more details about WCD and activities CANSA will be participating in.
(For more information, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call CANSA Help Desk 0800 22 66 22.)
About World Cancer Day
World Cancer Day takes place every year on 4th February and is the uniting global initiative under which the world comes together to raise the profile of cancer in a positive and inspiring way. Spearheaded by the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC), the day aims to save millions of preventable deaths each year by raising awareness and improving education about the disease while calling for action from governments and individuals across the world.
‘Close the gap in cancer care’ is the theme of the new three-year campaign for World Cancer Day, to promote greater equity in health care provision for all people no matter who they are or where they live. The campaign exposes significant socioeconomic factors that prevent many people from accessing life-saving early detection services, diagnostics, treatment and care. These factors lead to wide discrepancies in the risks of developing and surviving cancer.
Dr Cary Adams, CEO of UICC says: “As individuals, as communities, we can and must come together and break down barriers. We have achieved a lot in the last decade in cancer care and control around the world, but not addressing inequities in society is slowing our progress. Closing the care gap is about fairness, dignity and fundamental rights to allow everyone to lead longer lives in better health.”
CANSA offers a unique integrated service to the public and to all people affected by cancer. CANSA is a leading role-player in cancer research and the scientific findings and knowledge gained from our research are used to realign our health programmes, as well as strengthen our watchdog role to the greater benefit of the public. Our health programmes comprise health and education campaigns; CANSA Care Centres that offer a wide range of care and support services to those affected by cancer; stoma and other clinical support; medical equipment hire, as well as a toll-free line to offer information and support. We offer a Tele Counselling service in seven languages free of charge. We also supply patient care and support in the form of 8 CANSA Care Homes in the main metropolitan areas for out-of-town cancer patients and CANSA-TLC lodging for parents and guardians of children undergoing cancer treatment.
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