Cancer is Not a Priority in South Africa!

Breast cancer is a growing problem, aggravated by the fact that it is not regarded as national priority. The severity of the situation is further impacted by the fact that cancer is is not simply one disease like HIV/AIDS, TB or Malaria which all have one simple, uncomplicated, affordable treatment. Compare this to cancer which consists of 300+ diseases – and each one is amplified by endlessly complex environmental causes, genetic causes, complex ways of risk reduction, diagnosis and treatment.

Globally, cancer is a growing problem. But in Africa – and more specifically in South Africa – we are fast heading towards a cancer crisis.

[ Painting by Joaquin Jara ~ via ]
Painting by Joaquin Jara ~ via

‘It is bad to have cancer and worse to have cancer if you are poor. The gap between rich and poor, highly educated and little-educated and the NorthSouth divide is substantial and continuing to grow. Radical solutions are urgently needed: the status quo is not an appropriate response to the current situation….’ [ *From the State of Oncology 2013, International Prevention Research Institute, Boyle et al. ]


Did You Know?


  • The Extent of financial catastrophe and impoverishment due to direct out‐of‐pocket payments for health impacts at least 10% of population.
  • Developing countries account for:

– 84% of global population

– 90% of global disease burden

– 20% of global GDP

– 12% of global health expenditure

  • The Bamako Declaration agreed that African governments should spend 2% of health budgets on research. Health research should be seen as INTEGRAL to development and not merely a ‘luxury’.
  • Cancer kills more people than HIV/AIDS, TB and Malaria combined.
  • HIV/AIDS increases the risk of cancer.
  • Breast cancer accounts for the highest cancer incidence in Africa.
  • Lack of access to treatment or inadequate treatment results in high case to fatality ratio for cancers.
  • Lack of training of health care professionals in cancer control and care contributes to ineffective management of the disease.


How do YOU think South Africa is faring with this? Tell us what you think on our Facebook page!





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