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Type E – Linda Greeff – Cancer Challenges in South Africa

A travel grant was awarded to Linda Greeff of Cancercare to attend and present at the 20th International Psycho-Oncology Society World Congress of Psycho-Oncology (IPOS 2018) in Hong Kong from 28 October to 3 November 2018.


Poster presentation: Exploring grassroots feedback about cancer challenges in South Africa: a discussion of themes derived from content thematic analysis of 316 photo-narratives

Introduction: cancer is an important health problem in Africa with projections that incidence could double by 2030. While sparse, the literature on cancer control in African low- and middle-income countries suggests poor cancer planning, overburdened services and poor outcomes. South Africa has established oncology health care services but also has low cancer awareness, poor cancer surveillance and widespread service challenges.

Methods: data for this study was derived from 316 photovoice interviews with cancer patients, families of cancer patients and oncology workers across South Africa. The objectives of the study were to collect first-hand feedback about cancer challenges and to develop recommendations for the improvement of cancer control strategies.

Results: 9 themes of cancer challenges were distinguished via thematic content analysis of the photo-narratives. The identified themes of cancer challenges were physical and treatment challenges, emotional, poor services, transport, finances, information, powerlessness, stigma and schooling challenges.

Conclusion: the findings of this study offer the patient and family perspective of cancer challenges as a valid contribution to our body of cancer knowledge. The 9 themes of cancer challenges profile the emotional, physical and social impact of cancer on patients and families and offer detailed subjective information about problem occurrence in the trajectory of care. Recommendations following from the 9 themes of cancer challenges include training for improved patient-centred care standards, the need for cancer surveillance, innovative and locally appropriate cancer awareness campaigns, private and government health care partnerships and the development of psychosocial services. The advocating of findings and recommendations to influence cancer control strategies in South Africa, is indicated.

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Workshop presentation – Understanding and responding to the challenge of cancer care in low-resourced settings

While low levels of service delivery are suspected, little is documented about the realities of the cancer experience in developing and low- middle-income countries (LMIC). This workshop will showcase the value of qualitative research in providing a substantial understanding of the LMIC cancer experience, and will also explore how evidence-based data can be an important planning tool to try to align constrained services with the essential needs of cancer patients’ in low resource communities. This workshop will use the findings of published qualitative research in South Africa to reference grassroots cancer challenges in low-resource settings. Nine identified themes of cancer challenges will be introduced, their complex interrelationships explored, their global relevance discussed and appropriate responses considered. A 4-levelled cancer advocacy framework will be presented to guide the development of targeted cancer advocacy strategy across the trajectory of cancer care. Practical examples of advocacy materials, projects and initiatives will be presented and discussed thoroughly. The workshop process will be very participant-interactive and will conclude with an exercise to enable participants to practice the application of the workshop content to (their own) ‘real life’ low resource settings. Written and electronic resource material that is related directly to the workshop content will be made available to participants.

The major areas of study and how the visit have contributed to the understanding and/or management of cancer


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