Thanks to the funds raised by the more than 13 000 people who participated in the 2018 Algoa FM Big Walk for Cancer, the Cancer Association of South Africa (CANSA) Care Centre in the Eastern Cape has purchased the province’s first portable FotoFinder mole analyser.
A record R500 000 was raised by the 2018 Algoa FM Big Walk for Cancer, which was hosted in association with the Eastern Cape Department of Health and the Department of Sport, Recreation, Arts and Culture.
“This is a powerful new tool in the fight against cancer in the Eastern Cape. According to the World Health Organisation, one in every three cancers diagnosed globally is skin cancer,” says Gavin Kester, CANSA’s divisional manager for the Eastern Cape.
“South Africa has one of the highest monitored ultraviolet (UV) levels in the world, resulting in one of the highest skin cancer rates on the planet.”
“Skin cancer accounts for one-third of all cancers in South Africa and is the cause of about 300 deaths per annum,” he says.
“The department extends a word of gratitude to all the walkers who, through their participation, enabled CANSA care centre to buy equipment for screening,” says Lwandile Sicwetsha, Eastern Cape Health Spokesperson.
“As a department, we are proud to be associated with this project that will help save lives through early screening and detection. This will strengthen the fight against cancer.
“We hope that the purchasing of this much-needed technology will help CANSA reach more people for screening,” said Sicwetsha.
The portable mole analyser will be used by CANSA for screening throughout the province, including company and government workplaces.
“One of the misperceptions about skin cancer is that people with darker skins are immune. Research in the United States has found that, while black people are less likely than white people to be diagnosed with skin cancer, they are more likely to die from it.
“That is largely because they are only diagnosed when the skin cancer is at an advanced stage. The FotoFinder analyser will help us to detect warning signs on all skins at an early stage,” says Kester.
“We’re also very happy that the remainder of the funds raised, will be spent on the CANSA Care Home in Port Elizabeth, which provides accommodation to cancer patients while they are undergoing treatment,” Kester concluded.
Funds raised through the Big Walk will also be used to give pupils at Heatherbank Pre-primary School in Port Elizabeth, a sporting chance to develop ball skills.
Walkers raised R50 000 towards building a netball field and to purchase netball hoops and balls.
“There is a clear link between cancer and lifestyle, which includes regular exercise to lower the cancer risk. It is important for children to learn a sport and ball skills at as young an age as possible,” says Algoa FM marketing manager, Toinette Koumpan.
The Algoa FM Big Walk for Cancer was recognised as the country’s Best Community Project at the 2018 Liberty Awards.