A photovoice project, currently being run by people Living With Cancer (PLWC) is holding an exhibition at the Spin Street Gallery in Cape Town from 16th – 25th October in celebration of International Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
Here are just two of the 42 personal stories and photographs that will be on display.
Betty, Plaas (Farm) Worcester: Breast cancer
Photo Title: “I am very happy and thankful.”
“I, Betty le Roux felt a pimple on my left breast and went to my GP and they referred me to Worcester Hospital where they did tests and told me it was cancer.”
“On 25th March 2012 I came to Tygerberg Hospital where I was admitted and started Chemo. For 5 weeks I had Chemo while being transported up and down to Worcester.”
“In March 2013 I came back to have my breast removed, I stayed in Tygerberg for 4 days, then I was discharged and went home. On 17 July 2013 I came back and started radiation treatment and am still busy with it now. I am staying at Protea Hof presently where I am very happy at the moment. I am supposed to stay for 3 weeks as I am in my first week now. I am feeling very good and treatment is doing me good. I am very happy and thankful for all doctors and hospitals that helped me. I live with my daughter and kids in Worcester where I am happy and they looking very good after me.”
Photo Title: “Lack of facilities in rural areas; transport and other hardships.”
“Rural cancer patients who have to travel to larger cities can either use the government transport provided or they can arrange their transport privately. Each choice presents challenge for the patient. Those who choose to use transport provided by government usually need to walk a distance to the nearest pickup point where they have to wait in all kinds of weather.”
“Similarly, for the trip home they have to wait until a set time to travel home since the transport is for many different patients along the route to the hospital. This option means a long wait when they are struggling with the side effects of chemo even before the lengthy trip home begins and then in the transport as well.”
“Otherwise, patients who try to arrange their own transport are faced with the high cost of private transport to the city hospital. There is no easy option for cancer patients who are longing to get home after chemo.”
This cancer photovoice project forms a sound platform from which to implement various advocacy activities. Written consent is granted by all the contributors for PLWC to use the photovoice contributions for cancer advocacy work.
The aim of the project is fourfold: to create change at the level of peoples’ personal lives as well as at the social, institutional and the political level of the cancer landscape.
The PLWC photovoice collection in an ongoing national project that includes contributions of photovoice stories and photographs that relate to any aspect of cancer. This particular exhibition showcases a collection of photovoice breast cancer stories and forms part of the advocacy initiatives to try to effect improvements in the conditions for cancer early detection, treatment and care for all South Africans. This research/advocacy project strives to collect evidence-based data about the grassroots experience of having cancer in South Africa.
For further information about this project the researchers (Lynn Edwards & Linda Greeff) can be contacted via the People Living With Cancer website plwc.org.za