04 February 2013

Cancer Alliance joins fight against cancer

The Cancer Alliance plans to lead a picket on World Cancer Day to highlight access to treatment and stigma challenges faced by cancer patients.

The Cancer Alliance plans to lead a picket on World Cancer Day (4 February ) to highlight access to treatment and stigma challenges faced by cancer patients.

The Cancer Alliance announced, it had obtained permission from the City of Cape Town to lead a picket  that would  highlight access to treatment and stigma challenges faced by South African cancer patients and bring awareness to the need for innovative strategies and an unified effort in controlling South Africa’s burden of cancer.

Annually, on 4 February, the international cancer control community, including the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the International Union Against Cancer, promote ways to ease the global cancer burden. Cancer prevention and enhancing the cancer patient’s quality of life are recurring themes.

This year, World Cancer Day will focus on Target 5 of the World Cancer Declaration which addresses effects to dispelling damaging myths and misconceptions regarding cancer and the stigma patients and those affected by the disease face in their communities.

“This day is a chance for all South African Cancer NGOs to raise our collective voice in the name of every survivor” said Linda Greeff, cancer survivor and Cancer Alliance Executive Member. “We will not only be focusing on spreading messages regarding the myths surrounding cancer but also be petitioning Provincial Governments to focus on ensuring implementing effective cancer control strategies in communities.”


The Cancer Alliance will hand over a memorandum to representative of the Western Cape Health Department calling for the following interventions:

  • Establishment of a Western Cape Advisory Committee for cancer to ensure that cancer is prioritised in the province
  • Establishment of standard protocols for treating all cancer to ensure equitable treatment of cancer throughout SA
  • Development of referral pathways that will ensure prompt treatment of patients within tertiary cancer unit.
  • An urgent audit of drug availability for cancer patients.
  • In line with regulations, support of the establishment of a National Cancer Registry that will inform service planning and ensure equitable treatment

Cancer is one of the leading causes of morbidity and mortality worldwide, with an estimated 12.7 million new cases and 7.6 million death annually.  Worldwide kills more people than HIV/Aids and TB combined (source).  In the Western Cape it is the third highest cause of natural deaths. 

UICC (International Union for Cancer Control) identified the following 4 myths as part of the awareness campaign for 2013 

  • Cancer is not just a health issue – it has wide-reaching social, economic, development and human rights implications
  • Cancer is a disease of the wealthy, elderly and developed countries – Truth: Cancer is a global epidemic
  • Cancer is a death sentence. – Truth: Many cancers that were once considered a death sentence can now bee cured and many more people, their cancer can now be treated effectively.
  • Cancer is my fate. – Truth: with the rights strategies, a third of the most common cancer cancers be prevented

The Cancer Alliance picket, made up of member organisations, volunteers and survivor, will be held from 12pm and 2pm on Monday the 4th February in Cape Town in front of the St Georges Cathedral where a memorandum will be handed to the Minster of Health of the Western Cape - Minister Theuns Botha.

About the 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 2011Voice 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.

The members of the Cancer Alliance include; amaBele Belles, Brain Tumour Foundation SA, Breast Health Foundation, Cause Marketing Fundraisers, Campaigning for Cancer, Can-Sir, Cancer Buddies, CHOC Childhood Cancer Foundation SA, Hospice Palliative Care Association SA, IGAZI Foundation, Journey of Hope, Look Good Feel Better, National Council Against Smoking, National Kidney Foundation of South Africa, People Living With Cancer, Reach for Recovery, Sinomusanothando Community Development, The Sunflower Fund, The Vrede Foundation, Salomé Meyer (Independent) and Cameron Green(Independent).

 - (Cancer Alliance press release)

Read more:

The different types of cancer
Campaigning for cancer


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