E-poster Presentation 2014 World Cancer Congress

Breast Cancer challenges in South Africa (#548)

Gerda GM Strauss 1
  1. Cancer Associaiton of South Africa (CANSA), Johannesburg, South Africa

Background and Context: In South Africa public health care system is constrained with the bulk of accessible budgets being allocated to the management of infectious diseases like ARV’s. Focus on cancer control is not on a priority on the public health care systems’ agenda. Late diagnoses, poor access to treatment and poor condition of public treatment facilities lead to unnecessary cancer deaths. 

Aim: CANSA took hands with Phakamisa  - a special breast cancer initiative of AstraZeneca. This programmes was uniquely developed to address the challenges of breast cancer in SA and to make a difference at a grass roots level where the need for practical support and intervention is greatest. 

Strategy/Tactics: To enhance CANSA’s community driven prevention and early detection women’s health programmes CANSA’s Phakamisa programme, which in Zulu means to uplift, aims to ease the burden of Breast Cancer on women in the public sector by supporting these patients who rely on public health care for treatment. A new management strategy using a specially developed mobisite, a Phakamisa Hot Line and information through social media differentiate this prevention programme from all previous mind liked ones.  This cellphone programme is utilized by navigators to communicate with patients, reminding them to take their medication and to go for follow up medical examinations. 

Programme: Phakamisa programme goals are achieved by means of a three pillar model:      

 ·        Support to breast cancer patients      

 ·        Training of Health Care Practitioners       

·        Ensuring hormonal treatments available in public treatment facilities   


In three year 600 000 women have been exposed to the programme via 400 trained navigators  40 000+ public meetings were held  5 000 women raised concerns about their own breast health 2000 malignant lumps detected and referred for early diagnosis and treatment. This South African model have been launched in Kenya in Ghana