The National Cancer Campaign (NCC), announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa on 16 February, 2018 will be launched today in Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu-Natal. The campaign will focus on primary prevention and community awareness. The Cancer Alliance applauds and supports this campaign.
Cancer is one of the major non-communicable diseases (NCDs) in South Africa, and is on the increase. In 2014, the National Cancer Registry reported a total of 74,577 new cases of cancer. The actual figure is considerably higher due to under-reporting despite 2011 Regulations by the Department of Health making cancer a reportable disease.
The top three cancers among women are breast, cervical and colorectal. and men: prostate, colorectal and lung.
Many South Africans only get the help they need late in the progression of their cancers, because of a lack of awareness, poor access to screening, diagnosis and treatment. Advanced cancer negatively impacts on successful treatment. Cancer awareness and screening for the top three cancers among both men and women will go a long way to reducing the cancer burden.
The Cancer Alliance calls on Government to utilise the NCC to educate the public, improve awareness of cancer, provide adequate cancer screening, facilitate access to health care provision, and ensure the availability of continuous standard treatment of cancer, in an effort to drastically reduce morbidity and mortality as a result of the current cancer burden.
In support of the NCC, the Cancer Alliance has built a centralised online resource of information for cancer patients collected from amongst our 30 members and others. Information provided includes basic information on cancer, early warning signs and the various kinds of support which are available from NGOs. Patients are also able to report problems and issues with cancer service delivery.
Furthermore, the Cancer Alliance is proud to announce the publication of the Breast Cancer Advocacy Toolkit as part of cancer care. However, the high cost and regular unavailability of cancer care and treatment especially in the public health sector are still major stumbling blocks in the way of adequate cancer control.