Breast cancer needs prioritization

Andrew Louw, MPL

DA Provincial Leader 

The cancer most treated at Kimberley Hospital is breast cancer.  It is estimated that that 1 in 33 women will be diagnosed with this disease. Based on the Northern Cape’s current female population, this means that a total of 17 840 women in the province will eventually be diagnosed with breast cancer.

Early detection and treatment of breast cancer saves lives. Awareness and the proper functioning of primary health care are therefore essential.

Despite the high prevalence of breast cancer in the Northern Cape, the health department is fairing dismally in addressing this disease. Funding towards NGO’s specializing in this field is insufficient. In terms of prevention, only 58 preventative baseline mammograms were conducted in the first quarter of this financial year, whilst best practice indicates that symptom free women should go for a mammogram every three years from age 40.

The DA government has adopted a wellness approach towards health care, which includes regular check-ups. This is in contrast to the current tendency whereby patients only present themselves to the public health system when diseases become disabling. At the same time, the DA prioritizes partnerships with effective, formal NGO’s by providing sufficient funding and longer funding cycles to encourage long term financial and operational planning.

In a show of support for breast cancer awareness, 100 DA supporters, including myself, will be donning pink bandanas and participating in CANSA’s Pink Walk on Saturday.