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South African Cancer Alliance – World Cancer Day 2015

South African Cancer Alliance – World Cancer Day 2015

Cancer Alliance Logo2 February 2015 – The 4th of February marks the International World Cancer Day and the International Childhood Cancer Day follows on the 15th of February.

Cancer is the leading cause of death globally and the top killer among the non-communicable diseases (NCD’s) which are the major focus of the WHO and UN. The World Economic Forum held in Davos from the 21-24 January had two sessions dedicated to the role of political, civic and business leaders role in turning the tide on cancer.

The 2015 global campaign for World Cancer Day and International Childhood Cancer Day 2015 is themed: ‘Not Beyond Us’ and “Act now for kids with cancer”.

With the focus on:

  • Choosing healthy lives
  • Delivering early detection
  • Achieving treatment for all
  • Maximising quality of life

For South Africa this would mean:

  • An increased focus on childhood cancer
  • A National Cancer Control Plan that makes provision for vaccination for HPV and HBV against cervical and liver cancers, early detection and screening for breast, cervical, oral and colorectal cancers and childhood cancers
  • effective cancer surveillance
  • equitable access to essential medicines and technologies
  • effective implementation of palliative care policies

Thus far, South Africa has succeeded to make progress on:

  • The HPV Vaccination programme for girls for between nine and twelve years since Mach 2014, although this does not form part of the national cervical cancer policy
  • HBV Vaccination as part of the routine childhood immunisation programme since 1995
  • The Cancer Registration Regulation of 2011 makes provision for the compulsory registration of all cancer cases

Cancer Alliance Collaborating with DoH:

The Cancer Alliance is working closely with the DoH and other role players to address the following priorities for effective cancer control in SA:

  • The National Cancer Control Plan of 1998 is outdated and has been in process of updating since 2009. It currently contains no details pertaining to childhood cancer.
  • The cervical cancer screening policy has been in process of updating since 2009.
  • For breast cancer, the highest cancer killer of South African women a breast health policy is urgently required to ensure equitable service delivery for all women.
  • Despite the cancer registration regulation the completeness of the National Cancer Registry remains a challenge evident by the last available report of 2008. The National Cancer Registry falls under the jurisdiction of the NHLS that is currently experiencing huge financial and management challenges.
  • Equitable access to essential medicines and technologies as well as palliative care for cancer patients across the nine provinces is not in place and often leads to patients not receiving treatment of palliation timeously leading to unnecessary suffering of unrelieved pain and symptoms.

Cancer stigma is well documented and a reality on our South African communities impacting negatively of the disease even further. People Living With Cancer, a member organisation of Cancer Alliance, will be launching a compelling video, “Unsilenced” for World Cancer Day on their website.

Let’s raise our collective voices in the name of improving our general knowledge around cancer and dismissing misconceptions about the disease.

About the South African Cancer Alliance

The Cancer Alliance is a collective group of cancer control non-profit organisations and cancer advocates brought together under a common mandate as result of the May 2011 Voice of Cancer Survivor Forum, a platform which allowed cancer survivors to express their needs regarding access to quality of care, attitudes, practices, policies of cancer control and services in South Africa.

The Alliance seeks to provide a platform of collaboration for cancer civil society to speak with one voice and be a powerful tool to effect change for all South Africans affected by cancer. The Alliance will act as a watchful eye on strategies and policies that ensure the significant reduction of South Africa’s cancer burden and improved access to care for all cancer patients.

The Cancer Alliance will achieve this through the publication of position statements / papers and baseline papers as well as public messaging relating to such publications. This will be strengthened with focused advocacy and lobbying activities with relevant stakeholders regarding issues faced by all South Africa’s Cancer patients.

Members: amaBele Belles, Breast Health Foundation, Cause Marketing Fundraisers incorporating Pink Drive and More Balls that Most, Cancer Association of South Africa (CANSA), Can-Sir, Cancer Buddies, CHOC Childhood Cancer Foundation, Hospice Palliative Care Association of SA (HPCA_SA) IGAZI Foundation, Look Good Feel Better, National Council Against Smoking, People Living With Cancer, Pink Trees for Pauline, Reach for Recovery, Sinomusanothando Community Development, The Sunflower Fund, The Vrede Foundation, S.J. Meyer and C.C. Green.

Queries Cancer Alliance

Visit www.canceralliance.co.za to find out more information. For press-related enquiries, please contact the following Cancer Alliance Executive Committee Members:

Reference Information:

1) World economic forum press release on special meeting held on 23rd and 24th January to discuss the impact of cancer.
http://www.ecco-org.eu/Global/News/Latest-News/2015/01/NEWS-World-leaders-gathering-at-Davos-face-calls-for-bold-action-to-turn-the-tide-on-cancer

2) World Cancer Day Fact Sheet from the Union for International Cancer Control
http://www.worldcancerday.org/sites/wcd/files/atoms/files/UICC_OnePager_WCD_FA_screen.pdf

3) 2008 report on cancer incidence in South Africa
http://www.nioh.ac.za/?page=national_cancer_registry&id=41

4) Join the global call to “ACT NOW for KIDS with CANCER”
(#actnow4kidswithcancer)
http://internationalchildhoodcancerday.org

5) For information for parents and health practitioners about childhood cancerwww.saccsg.co.za

6) Background information on Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) http://www.cdc.gov/hpv/whatishpv.html and Hepatitis B Virus https://www.gems.gov.za/default.aspx?Page=2916

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