Brief Cansa history

2016-08-18 06:00


• The founders set out to establish a cancer register, cancer centres and clinics throughout the country, where optimal treatment and diagnostic methods could be investigated.


• Progress was slow during the Great Depression and World War 2, but picked up again in the 1950s when the association introduced educational programmes.


• Clinical facilities for the early detection of uterine cancer were established and a Durban-based laboratory performed about 70 000 pap smears annually.

• Dr George Oettlé was the first cancer researcher to receive a grant from Cansa in 1958, in order to initiate a cancer research programme in South Africa.


• The first interim home (now Cansa Care Homes) was pioneered in Pretoria, followed by similar homes in Johannesburg, Bloemfontein, Durban, Cape Town and Port Elizabeth.


• An innovative educational and fund-raising initiative called “Toktokkie” (also known as “Tap-Tap”) was launched nationwide.

• Research grants continued to be sponsored at major universities and research institutions. Research was of an international calibre, enabling SA cancer therapists to improve levels of therapy for patients.

• Community services were expanded and a “total care” programme was developed to assist cancer patients and their families from diagnosis to the terminal and bereavement phases, where necessary. Doctors, nurses, social workers, ministers of religion and volunteers were involved in these initiatives.

• Volunteers formed part of the “I Can Cope” programme designed to help cancer patients and their families cope with a cancer diagnosis. Other support groups such as Reach for Recovery for breast cancer patients and survivors were established.


• As a member of the organisation known as the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC), the National Cancer Association hosted the UICC’s Executive Committee meeting in Johannesburg, as well as an international conference on oesophageal cancer in Cape Town.

• The Hospicare Programme also provided numerous services ranging from home nursing to pain control.


• The National Cancer Association changed its name to the Cancer Association of South Africa (Cansa) and a new corporate identity was developed.

• Cansa’s mission was “fighting cancer and its consequences countrywide for the benefit of all South Africans in co-operation with the community by supporting research, health education, information,care and supportive services”.

• An information service was formed to gather, archive and distribute information about cancer and Cansa’s activities to cancer patients and their families, academics, medical professionals, students and members of the public. This was later renamed the Cansa Science and Resource Centre in 2009.

• Cansa, as a member of the Tobacco Action Group, played a major role in the anti-tobacco legislation of 1999 to ban advertising and sponsorship activities of tobacco products.


• Cansa modernised its image, adopting a new logo and corporate message “Striving for a Cancer Smart South Africa”.

• The Cansa Shavathon phenomenon hit with thousands of people affected by cancer and members of the public shaving off, dying or cutting their hair in solidarity with cancer survivors. The campaign has become an important event on South Africa’s annual calendar.

• Cansa’s environmental awareness campaign was launched, taking a stand on environmental issues by actively communicating Cansa­’s researched-based position statement on cancer and the environment.

• Taking its advocacy role as cancer “watchdog” to the next level, Cansa launched the “Cansa­ Seal of Recognition”, awarding products proven to help reduce the cancer risk with Smart Choice and SunSmart Choice labels.

• The lymphoedema programme was introduced during the inaugural Women’s Health launch in 2009.


• Cansa strives to keep the fight against cancer a top priority with policy makers.

• The association promotes correct food labelling on products, especially of trans fatty acids based on scientific findings.

• Cansa calls on the public and government to protect children against harmful chemicals such as BPA in toys and baby bottles.

• Three new health campaigns are introduced - Men’s Health, Women’s Health and Youth Health.

• In 2013, organised by the UICC and hosted by Cansa, United Nations officials, Ministries of Health and leading inter-national decision-makers came together for the first time in Africa to discuss the growing global cancer burden at the 2013 World Cancer Leaders’ Summit (WCLS) in Cape Town. - Cansa.


Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.