WHAT WE DO
Timely breast cancer surgery
The tremendous strain on South Africa’s public health sector, and especially theatre time and staff constraints means patients can wait up to 14 weeks for cancer surgeries. We fill the gap with Catch-up Surgery lists. Depending on the type of procedures and staff availability, four to nine patients receive their surgeries per list.
Continued support for Groote Schuur Breast Unit
Every year, thousands line up to attend the “walk-in” symptomatic outpatient Breast Clinic at Groote Schuur Hospital. Over 7500 patients are seen and 600 positive breast cancer cases are recorded at just this clinic. Thesefigures highlight significant health needs the necessity of policy change around management of breast disease.
The national number of new breast cancer patients is staggering, and these numbers are echoed at other breast units in South Africa. Current public health resources are insufficient to provide sustainable quality care to so many patients. We do what we can to support the Groote Schuur Breast Unit:
Every year we provide funds for a specialist surgeon to spend 4 hours every week at the Breast Unit. Approximately 20 to 25 patients are seen weekly by this specialist, relieving some of the pressure on the clinical services.
Since 2017 we have provided and maintained two ultrasound machines for the Groote Schuur Breast Unit to assist with breast cancer diagnosis, particularly in younger women. The machines are used for screening ultrasounds, image-guided biopsies and occasionally in theatre for localisation procedures.
As active members of the Cancer Alliance of South Africa and the Advocates for Breast Cancer (ABC) in South Africa, we collaborate with a vast number of other cancer organisations and NGOs to improve cancer care nationally.
Our partner initiatives
We see the bigger picture and work closely with multiple other cancer organisations to achieve our common goals. We acknowledge and thank them for their ongoing efforts and support:
Patient Pamper Packs
Every week a panel of expert clinicians, including surgeons, oncologists, pathologists and radiologists meet with approximately 20 newly diagnosed breast cancer patients to discuss their diagnosis and treatment plan. This is a traumatic ordeal and Pamper Packs are a simple and effective way to keep their feminine spirit alive. With personal care essentials, snacks and thoughtful extras, Pamper Packs have become a symbol of hope for all new patients in the breast oncology units at Groote Schuur, Tygerberg, George and Livingstone hospitals. Thousands of Project Flamingo Pamper Packs have been handed out to date.
Chemotherapy patient Food Parcels
Every week, various breast cancer patients attend their chemotherapy treatment. This is a physically and emotionally draining ordeal and some of the less fortunate patients undergo their treatment on an empty stomach. They then travel home with no nutritional support or means to prepare a meal. Food Parcels are sometimes the only option while recovering from the treatment's side effects.
Hundreds of Project Flamingo Food Parcels have been handed out to date.
Education & awareness
Although not our primary focus, we are involved in public education and breast cancer awareness by invitation. We also support various activities that promote cancer patient wellbeing and share vital information around the disease.
Life-changing stoma reversal surgery
Many colorectal cancer patients have to live with a colostomy bag after their surgical treatment, which severely limits quality of life. Some stomas can be reversed but a lack of resources means patients are forced to live with colostomy bags far longer than necessary. We commit theatre time to stoma reversals that can literally alter the entire trajectory of a patient’s recovery.