What makes us healthy? Social determinants of health

During the bus drivers’ strike let’s remember that good transport, or its lack, helps to shape our health. It is one of the social determinants of health. 

The UK The Health Foundation’s new easy-to-read quick guide:  “What makes us healthy?explains how your opportunity for health is influenced by factors other than health services and financial support. It helps to explain how, in our unequal society, South Africans don’t have the same opportunity. This is an introduction to the social determinants of health written by Natalie Lovell and Jo Bibby.

“So what causes heart disease? To some, the clear answer would be blocked arteries. But what causes those arteries to become blocked? Perhaps it’s the unhealthy food and drinks people consume, their lack of exercise, or their stress levels. And what, in turn, makes them feel stressed, shapes their opportunities to be active and determines their choices about what they eat and drink?”

“The answers lie in the circumstances in which people are born, grow, live, work, and age: the social determinants of health. These can enable individuals and societies to flourish, or not. These are the causes of the causes.”.



Take Heart – Rheumatic Heart Disease Action Toolkit

The Take Heart Ation toolkit with support of the Aspen Foundation. The toolkit has been offered free to use online. It is also completely compatible with mobile and pc browsers for all users. 

The Action Toolkit Guide is an accompaniment to the film Take Heart: The Quest to Rid Australasia of Rheumatic Heart Disease, using real stories to deliver important health information about Rheumatic Heart Disease (RHD). The trailer is free to view with the renting or purchasing of the film available at a small cost. 

This Toolkit is designed to help communities, clinicians, health workers and educators to understand, access and utilise the full suite of resources created for the Take Heart: Australasia project.

RHD is similarly a seriously health and risk factor in South Africa with the same goals for eradication and disease combating.

CANSA Association – Being Informed is Half the Battle Won

English Media Release

Available for download:

·         Infographic Breast Cancer – Eng(pdf)

·         Infographic Cervical Cancer – Eng(pdf)

·         Photo: Lindiwe Ntuli-Tloubatla

Afrikaanse Persvrystelling


·         Infographic Breast Cancer – Afr (pdf)

·         Infographic Cervical Cancer – Afr(pdf)

Being Informed is Half the Battle Won


27 September 2016 – Women’s health and the types of cancers prevalent among women is the theme of CANSA’s Women’s Health campaign being held during October. The key message is for women to keep themselves informed so that they can recognise early warning signs and know how to reduce their risk. (http://www.cansa.org.za/womens-health/)

“The focus of our Women’s Health campaign is mainly on breast and cervical cancers,” says CANSA Chief Executive Officer, Elize Joubert. “They’re the most common cancers affecting South African women, with cervical cancer being the leading cause of death for women in developing countries.”

See the signs

She adds, “The incidence of breast cancer among South African women is increasing with women having a one in 29 lifetime risk of being diagnosed and the most common cancer in women of all races and ethnicities.  With such alarming rates, it places so many women at risk and so we urge all women to go for regular screening and also find ways to lower your cancer risk.”

Women can contact a local CANSA Care Centre at http://www.cansa.org.za/cansa-care-centres-contact-details/ to arrange for a Clinical Breast Examination or if they have been diagnosed with breast cancer, so that staff can help guide them through the public health care system and offer them and their loved ones care and support. They can also ask the Care Centre about CANSA’s Mobile Health Clinics’ (http://www.cansa.org.za/cansa-mobile-health-clinics/) visits scheduled in their community.

In support of Breast Health Awareness Month, all participating members of the Radiological Society of SA (RSSA) and the Breast Imaging Society of SA (BISSA) are offering a 10 % or more discount on mammograms and breast MRI, not paid for by medical aid schemes, during the month of October and first half of November 2016.  See list of participating members on http://www.cansa.org.za/files/2016/09/RSSA-Participating-Radiological-Practices-2016.pdf alternately contact the RSSA on 011 794 4395, e-mail [email protected] or visit www.rssa.co.za.

Of all the gynaecological cancers, only cervical cancer has a screening test. The Pap smear can help detect cancer early when treatment can be the most effective. Since there is no simple and reliable way to screen for the other cancers prevalent in women, it’s especially important to recognise the warning signs and to learn about ways in which to reduce risk. (http://www.cansa.org.za/womens-health/)

Knowledge is power

It was Lindiwe Ntuli-Tloubatla’s knowledge of cancer and how to fight it that helped her through her battle with a particularly aggressive form of breast cancer. The Nelspruit-based gender and human rights activist also had first-hand experience of the disease with several members of her family being cancer survivors, including her sister, as well as Lindiwe herself having had a brush with cancer a few years earlier.

“At first the prognosis was so bad, I was told to get my affairs in order,” she says. But she persevered, got a second opinion and embarked on a treatment regime which she describes as ‘brutal’. Throughout the treatment and recovery processes, I kept myself informed and was very fortunate to be surrounded by people who helped me with my battle.”

One of those people was Sister Rhona from CANSA’s Care Centre in Nelspruit. “She was a Godsend,” says Lindiwe. “She advised me how to regain mobility, showing me which exercises would help; and she introduced me to the concept of breast prostheses. I wouldn’t have known about them otherwise.”

Lindiwe was so impressed by the service offered by Sister Rhona and CANSA, she has since become a volunteer, doing what she can to raise funds for the association.

Reduce risk

The overall goal of CANSA’s campaign is to improve women’s health and well-being by encouraging women to ensure they have the knowledge to put in place their own risk reduction measures. Through its campaign, CANSA is providing access to information that enables people to make healthy lifestyle choices. CANSA also encourages screening and early detection.

Throughout October, information will be disseminated through media, health talks, fund-raising events, including breast cancer walks; and screenings at CANSA Care Clinics and Mobile Health Clinics.

For more info visit www.cansa.org.za or contact CANSA toll-free 0800226622 or at [email protected] as email address. Follow CANSA on Twitter: @CANSA (http://www.twitter.com/@CANSA) and join CANSA on Facebook: CANSA The Cancer Association of South Africa.


(For more information, please contact Lucy Balona, Head: Marketing and Communication at CANSA at email [email protected]. Call 011 616 7662 or cell: 082 459 5230. You can visit www.cansa.org.za or call CANSA toll-free 0800 22 66 22 or email: [email protected].)


CANSA offers a unique integrated service to the public and to all people affected by cancer. As leading role-player in cancer research (more than R12 million spent annually), 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 comprises health and education campaigns, CANSA Care Centres that offer a wide range of care and support services to those affected by cancer, offer stoma and other clinical support and organisational management, medical equipment hire as well as a toll-free line to offer information and support. We also supply patient care and support in the form of 11 CANSA Care Homes in the main metropolitan areas for out-of-town cancer patients plus one hospitium based in Polokwane, as well as CANSA-TLC lodging for parents and guardians of children undergoing cancer treatment.




Thumbs up on national cancer control plan inclusivity

Thumbs up to the NCDs cluster of the National Department of Health (NDoH) for its responsiveness to stakeholder recommendations. The draft cancer plan, National Plan for the Prevention and Control of Cancer 2015 – 2020 (NCCP) is being reviewed by multisector – all of society stakeholder meeting early next month. Click here to review this draft.

Feedback from stakeholders on the 2014 a draft NCCP made it clear that more consultation was needed. The initial stakeholder meeting to its content (organisational structure) and process of development (planning process) in Pretoria on 6 February 2015.

The aims of the meeting include:

  • Identifying priorities in cancer prevention and control;
  • Setting goals and objectives;
  • Setting strategies for intervention;
  • Setting processes and timelines to achieve a final draft.


Professor Melvyn Freeman and the cluster team are to be congratulated on the transparent and inclusive step. The 1999 NCCP needs urgent revision to provide an integrated, comprehensive people-centered plan for South Africa. The new plan must take into account:

  • changing demographic and epidemiological trends
  • global and national targets
  • the health and developmental agendas.

For more information contact Elmie Engelbrecht at [email protected]

Click here to download the revised draft outline for consideration.

Patient-centred cancer care (PCCC) 7 building blocks

7 PCCC building blocks revPatient- or person-centred care is the next paradigm shift in healthcare systems strengthening and it has the power to change lives. It shows the way to integrated NCDs care.

Understand more about PCCC by watching this series of 4 videos.

The 7 PCCC building blocks were developed by the LIVESTRONG Foundation has published the outcome of a symposium on patient-centred cancer care. It research list 7 key building block that can be utilised to deliver cancer care across a variety of settings.

Click here to download the PCCC report.