Cancer survivors from across the country are being invited to make use of a new platform to share ideas and encourage others living with cancer to live creative and meaningful lives.

Dozens of cancer survivors from across the country are expected to gather in Cape Town this September for the first ever Cancer Survivors’ Summit.

Hosted by the Cancer Alliance, a group of 22 Cancer NGOs working together to ensure that the government prioritises cancer issues in South Africa, and Cancercare – one of the largest private oncology groups in South Africa. The one-day Summit promises to be a unique new platform for cancer survivors. The event is designed to encourage those who have been touched by cancer to share their experiences. The focus will be on physical and emotional post-treatment issues and seeks to empower patients and survivors as well as their families and caregivers with the knowledge, skills and tools they need to create meaning in their lives, deal with anxiety and manage lifestyle changes.

“Cancer can be a lonely journey, and no-one really understands how it feels to have cancer – to face treatment – and then have to return to daily living unless you have been there yourself,” says Linda Greeff, Manager of Oncology Social Work Services at Cancercare and a cancer survivor herself.

“The Summit aims to create awareness around cancer, encouraging survivors to get involved with existing NGOs working in this field and advocacy. Possibly most important of all, we want to give survivors hope, and the realisation that life is precious. Cancer is not a dead-end street. Armed with the right knowledge, support and tools they can still lead productive and creative lives.”

Following a plenary session, four break-away groups concentrating on important areas of cancer survival will discuss cancers specific to men and women, the role of care givers, and paediatric oncology for adult survivors of paediatric cancer or the parents of children with cancer.

Speakers at the Survivors’ Summit will include oncology specialists, patients and survivors who have developed good coping methods that they can share with others.

Cancercare, previously known as GVI Oncology (Dr Gouws and Partners Inc.) is a well-established South African oncology group practice with facilities in Constantiaberg, Rondebosch, Bellville, Somerset West, George, Port Elizabeth, and East London. The organisation takes a holistic approach to cancer and its psycho-social support service forms a key part of its patient-centred approach.

“We focus on compassion, a passion for excellence and respect for patients while value-added services and comprehensive information on all aspects of cancer and patient care is offered too,” says Greeff.

Greeff adds that the summit will be an opportunity for cancer survivors and their caregivers to celebrate their journey with others, and it will inspire the attendees to live a life full of creative meaning despite their experience with cancer. Information will be provided about new developments in oncology, managing late side effects of cancer treatment and the adjustments to lifestyles necessary to improve quality of life in post-cancer treatment. Delegates will be able to connect with other survivors and NGOs forming part of the Cancer Alliance and learn from the experts on a variety of survivorship topics.

Currently, nearly 21 000 deaths from cancer are recorded per day, worldwide. Without appropriate action, cancer is expected to reach 26 million new diagnoses and 17 million deaths by 2030. Over two-thirds of the deaths from cancer occur in the developing or emerging countries such as South Africa.

“The relevance of the summit is clear— cancer affects every single South African either directly or indirectly, financially or emotionally,” says Greeff. The National Cancer Registry, which has collected information on cancer diagnoses in South Africa since 1986, reveals that prostate cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in males followed by lung, oesophageal, colorectal and bladder cancers.  In women, breast cancer is the leading cancer diagnosis followed by cancers of the cervix, uterus, colon/rectum and oesophagus. Some of the most common cancers in children include: leukaemia, retinal tumours, bone and bone marrow cancers and brain and other central nervous system tumours.

The event is free of charge thanks to generous donations from Mediclinic and Roche, as well as other sponsors like Zebra Medical. “Each little bit helps to be able to make this event as inclusive as possible,” says Greeff.

A star-studded line up including MC Michael Moll has been organised for the event, which will be held at His People Auditorium in Cape Town on 10 September from 8:30 am to 3:00 pm.

Interested survivors and caregivers can get their free tickets from Quicket online booking services at http://qkt.io/INwEcV.

“No person will be able to enter without and ticket so please ensure you book now,” urges Greeff.

Issued by: Rothko PR on behalf of Cancercare

Contact details: Tarryn Arnold, tarryn@rothko.co.za, 021 448 9457

Cancer Care EMAILER