Background and Context: According to the South African Cancer Registry,breast cancer is reported to be the top cancer amongst women, often diagnosed too late resulting in a negative life expectancy.1 This results in a negative effect on economic viability of the family unit, due to many women being family bread winners. National Health System protocols outline clinical exams at primary health facilities with referrals for mammography to tertiary level, resulting in patients travelling long distances at great cost difficult to access for non-urban communities.
Aim:Pilot a screening programme to reduce the incidence of breast cancer in South Africa and ultimately reduce the mortality by encouraging early detection of breast lumps and prompt referral.
Strategy/Tactics:Screen South African women for breast cancer while providing healthcare services to all communities in conjunction with existing health care structures through mobile education units and mobile clinics.
Programme/Policy Process: In 2013, had two educational cars, one educational truck & one mobile Women’s Health Cancer Unit,servicing 103 clinics and 15 hospitals in Gauteng, Limpopo, Mpumulanga, Kwa-Zulu Natal, Orange Free State and North West Province – on a rotational basis. Another educational car and mammography unit servicing, Western Cape, Eastern Cape and Northern Cape offering services to two hospitals and theirs referring clinics, on a weekly basis. Since inception all data has successfully been captured and made available to National Department of Health and IARC recently funded data collection project.
Outcomes/What was learned: As of 2013 we have provided:5 797 free mammograms,62 530 clinical examinations, educated 99 141 women. We have worked with public health facilities and practitioners, to develop solutions answering some of South Africa’s screening challenges and complementing existing public health services to ensure the model is replicable,scalable,adaptable and sustainable. Due to continued needs assessments, newly built units are built to deliver an integrated service approach.