AstraZeneca’s Phakamisa marks 10 years

This week AstraZeneca announced it is expanding its Phakamisa programme through public and private partnerships with multiple healthcare stakeholders to improve the health outcomes for patients in South Africa.

The collaboration between community, civil society, government and private entities will focus on improving breast and prostate cancer management in the public sector and specifically address early detection of disease, promotion of primary prevention and access to care.

Breast and prostate cancer are growing health problems in South Africa. Apart from non-melanoma skin cancer, breast cancer is the most common cancer in women, with a lifetime risk of one in 26 in South Africa.

On average, five South African men die from prostate cancer every day, with more than 4,300 South African men newly diagnosed with prostate cancer each year.

In December 2010, AstraZeneca responded to this need and announced the launch of the Phakamisa programme.

Specialist and Senior Lecturer, Department of Medical Oncology, Steve Biko Academic Hospital, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa, Dr. Thulo Molefi, reiterated the importance of awareness and early diagnosis to effectively manage cancer:

“Cancer should be a communal conversation; its existence, diagnosis and treatment must not be limited to the urban cancer treatment centres; the treatment of this lethal disease might require expert knowledge but its awareness and screening does not.

“In a journey of a million miles, AstraZeneca’s Phakamisa initiative, in trying to increase cancer awareness, facilitate early diagnosis and fast-track pathways to treatment, is a step in the right direction,” explained Molefi.

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