CANSA Highlights the Importance of Lung Cancer Awareness
27 July 2021 – World Lung Cancer Day is observed on 1 August to raise awareness about the causes and treatment of lung cancer, and to support those affected by the disease. Lung cancer accounted for over 2,2 million new cases and 1 796 144 deaths worldwide in 2020 (Globocan 2020) making it the most fatal cancer globally. It’s in the top five most frequent cancers in SA excluding non-melanoma skin cancer in 2020 (Globocan 2020). The Cancer Association of South Africa (CANSA) has partnered with the University of KwaZulu-Natal in a bid to raise much needed awareness about lung cancer in several KZN communities.
Lorraine Govender, CANSA National Manager Health Promotion elaborates, “CANSA is concerned about the low awareness of lung cancer. More than two-thirds of patients are diagnosed at a late stage, when the cancer has already spread to other parts of the body. (1) If lung cancer is found at an earlier stage, when it’s small and before it has spread, it’s more likely to be successfully treated.” (2)
This concern led to a partnership with the University of KwaZulu-Natal for a Multinational Lung Cancer Control Programme (UKZN-MLCCP) under the leadership of Dr Themba Ginindza and other Co-Principal Investigators, for a three-year period. The aim is to improve knowledge and awareness of lung cancer, its risk factors and symptoms, and to positively impact attitudes towards lung cancer and screening. Further goals are to increase the uptake of lung cancer screening in high-risk groups through community mobilisation in identified communities in Durban and Pietermaritzburg, KZN.”
“CANSA provided training to 24 CANSA MLCCP volunteers regarding what CANSA does; cancer (lung cancer focus and top cancers affecting SA men and women); symptoms of lung cancer; screening / assessment of lung cancer and palliative care services so that they can educate community members about lung cancer and screen for individuals who may have lung cancer. The volunteers then referred these individuals to the UKZN MLCCP clinical team for further investigation, and provided counselling, care and support to those affected by lung cancer and other cancers in the community,” Govender continues.
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Since December 2020 and despite the limitations imposed by COVID-19 and recent unrest in KZN the programme has achieved substantial results:
- A total number of 33 people were identified as having signs and symptoms of lung cancer of which 22 were selected for further investigation by the UKZN MLCCP clinical team at Addington Hospital.
- Over 7 400 community members were educated through awareness events and door-to-door visits
- 7 radio and TV broadcasts took place
- More than 2 000 door-to-door visits conducted to educate community members
- 3 350 IEC pamphlets / posters on lung cancer and other cancers were distributed
Lowering Lung Cancer Risk
Smoking accounts for most preventable lung cancers, and the best way to prevent the disease is to not use tobacco products and avoid second-hand smoke. It’s estimated that the risk for lung cancer can be lowered in 90% of cases through action and awareness, which is why the UKZN-MLCCP partnership is so important to help change attitudes at grassroots level.
Govender concludes, “More information on lowering the risk for lung cancer, symptoms and research can be found on the CANSA Website.”
(1) Ellis, PM, Vandermeer, R. J Thorac Dis, 2011 Wetp; 3(3):183-188.
(2) https://www.cancer.org/cancer/lung-cancer/detection-diagnosis-staging/detection.html (Accessed May 2021)
(For more information, please contact Lucy Balona, Head: Marketing and Communication at CANSA at email firstname.lastname@example.org. Call 011 616 7662 or mobile 082 459 5230.)
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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