South Africa & Breast Cancer: Great Big Glaring Gaps

In our post, Reality Bites, about the reality of breast cancer in South Africa, we explained what the entire breast cancer basket of services is that one can expect – and has the right to receive. We need to, however, unpack this issue even more.

Specialist Breast Clinics are available in both the Public and Private sectors. Unsurprisingly and inequitably, there are more options in the Private sector.

Specialist Breast Clinics in South Africa

As per the map, Specialist Breast Clinics can be found in the following South African cities:

  • Pretoria
  • Johannesburg
  • Durban
  • East London
  • Port Elizabeth
  • Cape Town
  • Bloemfontein

In effect, this means that if you live in the Mpumalanga, Limpopo, Northern Cape, North-West that there is NO dedicated specialist breast health unit in your province!

This is NOT equal treatment or equitable access which are our basic rights according to the South African Constitution.

A standardised and sustainable Breast Health Policy can change this. 

South Africa & Breast Cancer: Reality Bites

D I D    Y O U   K  N O W  ? 

  • 15 % of the population use Private Sector Health: they are served straight away upon diagnosis.
  • 85% of the population use Public Sector Health have to wait…


Basket of Services - Breast Cancer in South Africa

Women in Private Sector care have access to the entire ‘basket’ of services:

  1. Surgery
  2. All forms of treatment
  3. Supportive care
  4. Breast reconstructive surgery
  5. Breast prostheses
  6. Lymphoedema service

This is, however, not always the case for the Public Heath Sector.

Saying that, even women in the Private Sector can miss out on receiving full cover from their medical aids for their actual cancer diagnosis and all associated treatments if they don’t carefully inform themselves by making sure to read the FINE PRINT of their policies! If they don’t thoroughly know the conditions of their medical aid policy, they will end up joining the treatment queue with their sisters in the Public Health Sector.


If 85% of our women are in the public sector how many of them are lucky enough to get the full ‘basket of services‘?

Breast Cancer - Basket of Services

Once again, it is our responsibility to equip and empower ourselves – as well as our sisters – with the knowledge necessary to make sure we have our rights met!