Water Your Own Garden: Ten Facts


How and Why to Take Charge of YOUR Recovery!

Advocates for Breast Cancer_Integrated Medicine


We’ve collected together these 10 FACTS to calm, empower and encourage you. Read them when you feel frightened, discouraged or lost!


FACT ONE: Cancer is a two-way process: it can grow – but it can also shrink or go into remission.

FACT TWO: People have recovered from every single kind of cancer and are living to tell the tale!

FACT THREE: A healthy body has detection and repair mechanisms for cancer cells.

Maintaining the optimum possible health of your body + mind + spirit + environment = assists in the repair process and boosts your natural anti-cancer mechanisms naturally present in your body.

FACT FOUR: There are many factors and options (aside from orthodox medicine) over which YOU have primary control and which may affect your survival time with cancer. YOU can empower YOURSELF: explore and experiment with these different options to see which best fits in with your unique personality, lifestyle and cancer-type!

FACT FIVE: Your personal response to cancer can make a huge difference to both your quality of life and your survival.

FACT SIX: You are a unique individual — and statistics never apply to individuals! Nobody knows your particular survival time with your particular kind of cancer – especially once you become active in your own defence.

All of the conventional statistics are historical and most likely based on results of people who remained entirely passive, using medicine treatment alone to combat their cancer!

FACT SEVEN: You should see your conventional treatment as ONE component only of your cancer recovery plan — and become actively involved in your recovery process.

FACT EIGHT: It is vital that you do not rely too much on the effectiveness of your medical treatment alone to “cure” you of cancer. Choose to turn your back on the passive patient role and proactively & self-assuredly join forces with your medical team! (Notice the word ‘team’? You are your BEST cheerleader!)

FACT NINE: It is you and not your doctors who are in overall charge of your situation.

FACT TEN: Many people who have chosen to embark on a holistic healing approach end up saying that they are ultimately GLAD they had cancer because they are now feeling more content, self-assured, happier, healthier and more alive than ever before.


{ Adapted  from the Cancer Lifeline Programme, Dr Rosy Daniel of Health Creation }


Advocates for Breast Cancer - Dr Rosy Daniel - Integrated Medicine

THIS is the Scope of Practice We Need: Safe, Equitable & World-Class!

In 2004, the Australian Health Ministers endorsed the National standard defining the scope of clinical practice which was developed by the Australian Council for Safety & Quality in Health Care – and as a nation which strives to be world-class and no longer a mere ‘Third World’ country, our South African breast health policy we are lobbying for must include the following requirements within the scope of practice in breast cancer treatment:

Scope of Practice - South Africa - Breast Health Policy - Breast Cancer

Cancer is COMPLEX — and this complexity must be fully incorporated as a medical and social reality within the scope of practice by each and every member of the multidisciplinary team.
• The range of clinicians with different professional expertise (medicine, nursing, psycho-social support, allied health etc.) involved in cancer care is also complex — and proactive, together-teamwork is critical to the success of their collective care.
• The serious complications and side-effects of some treatment, as well as their impact on their hearts and lives of the people receiving the treatment.
• The advances in technology and research that are changing best practice care at a rapid pace and must vigilantly be on the care team’s radar.
• For patients to have access to safe and high quality services, it is important that professionals ensure:

  1.  They have the necessary skills to carry out those aspects of cancer care they undertake and there is institutional capacity and resources to support such care (for example, equipment, staffing and skill mix.)
  2. They have clear links and open lines of communication with a range of specialties or multidisciplinary care team required for cancer care, for the purpose of clinical advice, referral and continuing education & awareness.
  3. They follow evidence-based practice or treatment recommendations of a multidisciplinary care team.
  4. They undertake regular review of their performance and contribute to regular audit of their cancer care.
  5. They are actively involved in continuing professional development.
  6. Their patients can make an informed choice about their care, including the options of referral to other professionals or other care centres.

And yet again we see a clear and urgent need for cancer care to be patient-centred! Do you feel the list above includes the aspects necessary for a holistic and effective scope of practice? Let us know in the Comments block below or on our Facebook community page!

Conquer Cancer with Coordinated Care!

What does it mean to ‘coordinate care’?

Until about 15 years ago, there was a very strict division between the GP and the specialist. It was a division that the patients recognised; you knew that if you wanted to see a specialist, you would need to be referred by your GP. Now that strict division seems to have fallen away. As more people gain access to the internet, many start “diagnosing” their own conditions and deciding for themselves when specialist help is needed.

A system of proper coordination of healthcare will ensure the best possible outcome for the patients and the healthcare providers (doctors, nurses and specialists) — all helping to manage costs.

Nowhere is this more needed than in the area of chronic diseases, of which breast cancer is one. Research by the World Health Organisation (WHO) suggests that the global burden of chronic disease will boom from 27% of the total cost of healthcare to 43% in the next two decades!

The WHO points out that positive outcomes for chronic conditions are achieved only when patients and families, community partners, and health care teams are informed, motivated, prepared, and working together.

Advocates for Breast Cancer is lobbying for an effective and appropriate referral system for breast health. This referral system could take the form of five steps in the management of breast cancer:

Coordinated Cancer Care



Building Teams of Care

The treatment of breast cancer is complex and should involve specialists from many different fields.

For the person with breast cancer it can feel like there is an endless string of doctors and health practitioners, each saying something different. The result is that a person with breast cancer can feel afraid and unsure about what exactly is happening with their body. The person who they know and trust the most – their family doctor – may not be part of the process which can add to the patient’s feelings of insecurity.

We are lobbying for a system of multidisciplinary care in South Africa which will bring all the different specialist care providers together and provide clear information to the person with breast cancer.

Multidisciplinary care is another way of saying: TEAM WORK!


The ‘gold standard’ for multidisciplinary care is a team that meets regularly and plans the treatment options and care for all patients within a tumour group. The care of each individual patient should be discussed by the team, and the family doctor needs to be part of the discussion wherever possible. The team also needs to include allied health and psychosocial health practitioners.

We do, however, need to be realistic. The ‘gold standard’ is something worth aiming for, but right now in South Africa just having different professionals talking to each other about their patients would be progress.

All core disciplines should have regular meetings to provide input to diagnostic, treatment, support and palliative care planning. There needs to be a clear communications path set up so that discussions and decisions can be shared with practitioners who are unable to attend a particular meeting.

Within this system, decisions, protocols and care pathways will be in line with the current best practice, and will include the latest research. In this way, multidisciplinary team meetings can also be seen as part of the ongoing professional development of each practitioner.

Collaborative links will be formed with the smaller referring centres. This creates a strong network of multidisciplinary teams and practitioners across and between integrated breast cancer services.

What do we expect the result of this system to be?

In an ideal world, the most important result will be that all people with breast cancer will have information about and access to relevant treatment and services. The way that the multidisciplinary team works and makes recommendations needs to be explained to the patent. There must be clear communication so that each person with breast cancer can feel connected to the planning of their own treatment.

In reality, we face the question of: WHO WILL PAY FOR THIS SERVICE? It will require creative thinking to get this funded. It may even require a rethink of how our funding model works in order to accommodate whole patient care.

In the meantime, we need to make sure that the teams that do exist in our State and Private hospitals are fully functioning as teams. This way of working must be taught in medical schools.

Newly diagnosed people with breast cancer need to know that they can be assertive and demanding about their treatment. When possible, they need to choose their team and insist that the surgeon and oncologist speak to each other and to the general practitioner. They also need to insist on seeing an oncologist before surgery as this may influence treatment decisions.

Do you have any suggestions about how these dreams could become reality? What is your experience of breast cancer treatment in South Africa?