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CANSA Research Highlights over 85 years

85th BannerCANSA Research Highlights over 85 years


  • The Founders set out to establish a cancer register, cancer centres and clinics throughout the country, where optimal treatment and diagnostic methods could be investigated.


  • Clinical facilities for the early detection of uterine cancer were established and a Durban-based laboratory performed about 70 000 Pap smears annually.
  • Dr George Oettlé was the first cancer researcher to receive a grant from CANSA in 1958, in order to initiate a cancer research programme in South Africa.


  • Research grants continued to be sponsored at major universities and research institutions. Research was of international calibre, enabling South African cancer therapists to provide continuously improving levels of therapy to patients.


  • As a member of the organisation known as the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC), the National Cancer Association hosted the UICC’s Executive Committee meeting in Johannesburg, as well as an international conference on oesophageal cancer in Cape Town.


  • An information service was formed to gather, archive and distribute information about cancer and CANSA’s activities to cancer patients and their families, academics, medical professionals, students and members of the public. This was later renamed the CANSA Science and Resource Centre in 2009.


  • CANSA’s environmental awareness campaign was launched, taking a stand on environmental issues by actively communicating CANSA’s researched-based position statement on cancer and the environment.


  • Taking its advocacy role as cancer ‘watchdog’ to the next level, CANSA launched the ‘CANSA Seal of Recognition’, awarding products proven to help reduce the cancer risk with ‘Smart Choice’ and ‘SunSmart Choice’ labels.
  • The Association promotes correct food labelling on products, especially of trans fatty acids based on scientific findings.
  • CANSA calls on the public and Government to protect children against harmful chemicals such as BPA in toys and baby bottles.
  • In 2013, organised by the UICC and hosted by CANSA, United Nations (UN) officials, Ministries of Health and leading inter-national decision makers came together for the first time in Africa to discuss the growing global cancer burden at the 2013 World Cancer Leaders’ Summit (WCLS) in Cape Town.
  • In 2015 CANSA honoured Professor Michael Kew with a Lifetime Achievement Award to recognise his contribution, knowledge and understanding of primary liver cancer. Thanks to his work, a link between Hepatitis B and liver cancer was discovered, followed by a vaccine that is saving lives. CANSA is proud to have been a funder of Prof Kew’s research for over 30 years.
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1931 - 2021. 90 Year Anniversary

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