World Cancer Day highlights urgent need for a breast health policy in South Africa

 

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It has been 16 years since World Cancer Day (WCD) was declared as part of the Paris Charter adopted at the World Summit Against Cancer for the New on 4 February 2000, but for most cancer patients in South Africa little has changed.

“Cancer is still not regarded as a priority in South Africa,” says Salomé Meyer, spokesperson for the Advocates for Breast Cancer (ABC), a coalition of interested breast cancer organisations in South Africa.

ABC was formed in 2014 to campaign for a national breast health policy for South Africa and to prioritise the management of this disease. Eight breast cancer organisations – The Breast Health Foundation, Reach for Recovery, CANSA, Pink Drive, Project Flamingo, Breast Course for Nurses, People Living with Cancer and Wings of Hope – are working together to lobby government to create and implement an equitable breast health policy for all South Africans.

“We know that breast cancer is still the leading cause of cancer related deaths for women in our country,” Meyer said. “But we still do not have a cancer registry which would provide the vital real-time data that is needed to plan or budget appropriately.

“This World Cancer Day we are calling on the Minister of Health, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi, to urgently develop a breast health policy for our country.”

As part of its advocacy campaign, ABC provides information about breast cancer on its blog at www.blogforbreastcancer.wordpress.com and through its Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/AdvocatesForBreastCancer/.

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