Support for Children, Youth & Families Affected by Cancer
CANSA’s Tough Living with Cancer (TLC) Programme focuses on:
- raising awareness of cancers affecting children / teens and the importance of early detection
- providing tangible loving support, to youth and families affected by cancer
Children and teens diagnosed with cancer or affected by cancer (a family member has cancer) are supported, as we believe no child or family should have to face cancer on their own.
CANSA is committed to connecting people facing cancer with information, day-to-day help as well as emotional support they need in the communities where they live. Our aim is to ensure that cancer Survivors (patients) and their loved ones don’t have to face cancer alone; we’re here to support them through every step of their cancer journey.*
* 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. Any friends or family members of a family with a newly diagnosed child are welcome to share our information and to refer parents to us for support. All are welcome to join the CANSA TLC Childhood Cancer Facebook support group for children and teens with cancer, and to email email@example.com for support. A referral will then be made to a local CANSA Care Centre for further support.
Early Detection Vital in Child & Teen Cancer
International Childhood Cancer Awareness month is celebrated in September each year. Gold ribbons are worn to help raise awareness worldwide.
In South Africa it is estimated that at least half of all children / adolescents with cancer, are never diagnosed due to misdiagnosis or ignorance of the symptoms of childhood cancer. Read more about the types of cancer affecting South African children and teens…
A particular focus for CANSA is that of the teenage cancer Survivors (patients). Find more information regarding how teens are affected by cancer here…
CANSA TLC Support:
CANSA TLC strives to inform the public of the warning signs of childhood cancer to enable early diagnosis and to ensure that children are referred to Paediatric Oncology Specialists for treatment. #ChildhoodCancerAwareness #CANSAtlc
An incorrect diagnosis by someone less knowledgeable, can allow the cancer time to build up resistance to treatment. The quicker a child is diagnosed correctly, the better his or her chance of survival.
Myths surrounding childhood cancer also need to be debunked to ensure that children are referred to specialists without delay.
A young cancer Survivor, Thandi* and her mom Jessica*, were being rejected by their community. Jessica said at the time: “The lack of knowledge and understanding in our village is extreme. The majority still believe that my child is contagious and can harm them.” CANSA’s TLC Staff in Kimberley stepped in to offer support and information to their community. (*Names changed to protect privacy)
CANSA TLC embraces a holistic approach to include all aspects of physical, spiritual, psychological and social well-being of parents (guardians) and children / teens, through:
- sharing cancer related information
- offering support groups / counselling
- tele counselling
- providing terminal & grief support
- prosthetic assistance and devices | equipment, e.g.: artificial eye support
- ports and broviacs to minimise trauma (only provided to children / teens based on Paediatric Oncologist requests)
- volunteer training
- providing accommodation for parents (guardians) | patients near treatment centres
- providing food & basic essentials parcels to families in need
CANSA TLC Facilities & Support:
Currently there are 2 CANSA TLC Lodges, 1 CANSA TLC Ward and 1 CANSA TLC Teenage Support Room for children / teens and parents and families affected by cancer:
CANSA TLC Nicus Lodge on premises Steve Biko Academic Hospital in Pretoria. This includes 4 isolation rooms (with en-suite facilities) that provide a family friendly environment.
CANSA TLC Durban Lodge – tel: 031-205 9525
CANSA TLC Paediatric Oncology Ward in Pietersburg Provincial Hospital, Polokwane – tel: 015-297 1268
CANSA TLC Tygerberg Teenage Support Room at Tygerberg Hospital – tel: 021-931 0990 or 076 047 6651 (Anthea Lewis)
Do You or Your Child / Teen Need Support?
CANSA Tele Counselling can be accessed via the CANSA Help Desk on 0800 22 66 22 toll free, to make an appointment with a CANSA counsellor. Or send an email to the Help Desk via firstname.lastname@example.org – this is a confidential, professional, cancer-related telephonic counselling service to cancer patients, caregivers and their families and parents or guardians of children living with cancer. Counselling is available in seven languages (English, Afrikaans, isiXhosa, isiZulu, siSwati, Sesotho and Setswana) and is free of charge.
Parents, families, and guardians can also join our Facebook Support Group: CANSA TLC – Childhood Cancer Support, to connect with others in a similar position.
Says Portia Masango, whose son was diagnosed with cancer: “Today marks exactly one year since my then 5 year old was diagnosed with cancer. I can still see Dr Khoza’s face when she said, ‘I’m afraid I’m gonna have to admit Tshegofatso, I need a CT scan done on him tomorrow, cos I suspect he has cancer.’
We were in Mankweng, a strange place, with no one we know around. The reality of it all never really hit me until we got transfered to Steve biko Academic. Then I got to understand what having a child with cancer means. Chemo, the nausea, loss of appetite, losing weight, being weak, sometimes feeling so helpless, feeling like just screaming. Being anxious, asking yourself: is he going to make it? The hope I had after completing the chemo cycles, only to do the CT scan and learn that the tumor was still there! Yet somehow having the strength to still go on.
Today, a year later, I’m grateful for every thing thus far: being able to attend school without major problems, just the occasional bleeding here and there, his glowing face despite chemo, still being able to play, slowly gaining back the weight, and the support from the CANSA TLC Childhood Cancer Facebook Support Group. It’s much easier when you talk to people who really understand what your talking about!”
Be a Gift to a Child in Need:
- Support the Vlok Family’s 9th Port / Broviac Fundraiser…
- Please make an online donation towards supporting our TLC Programme, so that we can help more children and families. Donations will assist with the provision of porto-catheter and broviac catheter implants, prosthetic support and certain medical equipment.
- Donate basic items to TLC Families of young cancer patients…