CANSA Play Vital Role with Life-saving Support
1 September 2020 – September is International Childhood Cancer Awareness month and the Cancer Association of South Africa (CANSA) highlights support available to children and parents affected by cancer, through its CANSA Tough Living with Cancer’s (TLC) Broviac / Port and Prosthetics programme and CANSA Tele Counselling service. #CANSATLC #ChildhoodCancer #CANSAcares
Cara Noble, CANSA’s National Relationship Manager for Service explains, “One of the biggest needs young patients have during treatment, is a less painful and traumatic experience when it comes to cancer treatment. We help by providing ports or broviacs that enable doctors to administer chemotherapy and get blood samples, with less discomfort to the child than a more typical ‘needle stick’ on multiple occasions. Another need is for prosthetic assistance due to the loss of an eye or limb, and CANSA assists with crutches and wheelchairs if needed.”
“We’re thrilled to be delivering broviacs and prosthetics at major paediatric oncology units across the country (Polokwane Hospital, Dr George Mukhari Academic Hospital, Port Elizabeth Provincial Hospital, Frere Provincial Hospital and Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital) during September, to help save young children from pain and trauma”, she added.
A mother recalls how her son benefitted from a broviac and shares how he did not have to fear regular blood tests, needles and being held down by a number of staff, who had to insert needles into him anymore. Before his implant, he struggled and kicked every time, as he had an overwhelming fear of needles after months of tests and treatment.
Dr O Wedi, Paediatric Oncologist, Polokwane Hospital, is grateful for support received over the years, “I want to express my deep gratitude to CANSA TLC for the continuous support that our unit has enjoyed over the years. Especially, at this critical period of the COVID-19 pandemic, your support has made a difference and helped us to go through this very difficult time. Thank you very much for the donations of various kinds: ports, broviacs, artificial eyes for our patients with retinoblastoma, and food parcels. From the time of the inauguration of this ward, you have been our biggest sponsor and contributed tremendously to make our work less stressful and improve the quality of life of our kids and the caregivers. We hope that your support will never stop, for the sake of well-being of our patients.”
Dr E J Mathews, Paediatric Oncologist, at Port Elizabeth’s paediatric oncology unit also thanked CANSA for continued support in donating ports, “We’re highly reliant on the donation of these devices used to deliver life-saving chemotherapy, blood products, intravenous antibiotics and other intravenous treatments required by our little patients. It’s well-known that direct venous delivery of chemotherapy can potentially damage vasculature. Therefore, if we didn’t have access to these devices, it’s highly unlikely that our patients would be able to complete chemotherapy protocols.”
Families don’t need to cope with childhood cancer alone. Having a child or teenager with cancer can be a traumatic experience for the whole family. CANSA has recently launched its CANSA Tele Counselling service and offers free, appointment-based counselling for parents / siblings, caregivers and children diagnosed with cancer, in seven languages (English, Afrikaans, isiXhosa, isiZulu, siSwati, Sesotho and Setswana). Appointments can be made via the CANSA Help Desk at 0800 22 666 22. Parents / guardians can also join CANSA’s TLC Childhood Cancer Facebook Support group to connect with others walking a similar path.
CANSA currently operates one CANSA TLC Teenage Support room in Cape Town, three CANSA TLC Lodges in Pretoria, Cape Town and Durban and one CANSA TLC Paediatric Oncology Ward in Polokwane where parents of children receiving treatment far from home can stay with their children during treatment.
Noble concludes, “Our CANSA TLC programme continued to support children / teens diagnosed with cancer and their loved ones, throughout the lockdown period by sharing cancer specific information; offering counselling and support groups; port / broviac and prosthetic assistance and medical equipment; food and essential items parcel relief; educational and skills development activities; plus end of life and grief support. We call on the public to help fund our TLC service so that we can help more children and teens, by making an online donation.”
Disclaimer: CANSA is not aware of all children / teens diagnosed with cancer since they go to multiple units across the country. Although we make regular contact in some identified wards where we have full time volunteer and staff support, we invite all oncology parents and / or legal guardians to contact us in order to register and become part of our Tough Living with Cancer (TLC) support groups. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for support. A referral will then be made to a local CANSA Care Centre for further support.
(For more information, please contact Lucy Balona, Head: Marketing and Communication at CANSA at email email@example.com. 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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