#cancer85years – CANSA research

ABC - Advocates for Breast Cancer - CANSAThrough its Type A programme, offering funding to established researchers at South African universities and research institutions, CANSA is currently funding a number of projects addressing breast cancer.

These projects span a wide range in terms of types of research and focus areas. Several projects are looking at breast cancer prevention in basic science studies. Dr Donita Africander of University of Stellenbosch is examining the chemo-preventative properties of bio-identical hormones; Prof Anna-Mart Engelbrecht of University of Stellenbosch is examining whether melatonin can prevent the onset of breast cancer in a mouse model; Prof Ann Louw of University of Stellenbosch is looking at the chemopreventive action of a Cyclopia extract in rat models of breast cancer; while Dr Annadie Krygsman of University of Stellenbosch is examining whether simple dietary modification by restriction of carbohydrate and/or omega-6 fatty acids can prevent breast cancer development in the urban South African context.

A number of other projects are looking at genetic aspects of breast cancer which could impact early diagnosis. Dr Adrienne Edkins of Rhodes University is conducting an analysis of stem-cell associated genes in breast cancer as biomarkers and predictors of cancer malignancy. Prof Lizette Jansen van Rensburg of University of Pretoria is looking at the role of DNA homologous recombination genes in breast/ovarian cancer susceptibility; Dr Ans Baeyens of WITS is examining genetic screening of triple negative and young breast cancer patients in South Africa; while Prof Fourie Joubertof University of Pretoria is conducting an investigation into genetic variation in South African breast cancer patients using genome sequencing.

We are also funding projects in the areas of clinical and public health research. Dr  Herbert Cubasch of WITS and Prof Jennifer Moodley of UCT are both conducting projects that will contribute to our understanding of delays in seeking care and accessing treatment in women with breast cancer in South Africa, and may have significant outcomes for healthcare delivery.

Compiled by
Dr Melissa Wallace, Head of Research
Lorraine Govender, National Advocacy Co – ordinator

Of Populations & Priorities

 We have already asked this urgent question: Shouldn’t South Africa be focusing on the development of a Population-Based Cancer Registry (PBCR)?

IARC (International Agency for Research on Cancer) is a WHO agency which describes the importance of a PBCR and its role as:

  • Describing the extent and nature of the cancer burden in the community and assist with the establishment of public health priorities.
  • Used as a source of material for etiological studies
  • Help with the monitoring of cancer and assigning the effectiveness of cancer control activities.

The National Cancer Institute‘s Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results (SEER) Program explains how a Population-Based Cancer Registry is different and wider-reaching than a Hospital-Based Cancer Registry.

“In comparison to the hospital-based cancer registry, the data collected by the population-based registry serves a wider range of purposes. Advantages of a population-based cancer registry include cancer control programs, patient care programs, administrative programs, and cancer research programs.” { Read more here.}


All the above falls into the ambit of an effective National Cancer Control Plan for South Africa – STILL outstanding since 1998!

 When will South Africa recognise that Cancer is a PRIORITY disease and that it simply cannot just be lumped with Non-Communicable Diseases?

If we do not have accurate statistics, how can we plan appropriately to prevent the untimely death of our mothers and sisters?

What do YOU think?

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