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Know your lemons: Breast cancer initiative at UP

Kathryn Malherbe (Director/Founder: Breast Cancer Support Pretoria: Lecturer)

The Breast Cancer Support Pretoria Non-profit organisation (NPO) started the Cancer Care Packages Campaign for women diagnosed with breast cancer at the University of Pretoria, Faculty of Health Sciences, Department of Radiology in 2018.

The role a radiographer plays during the diagnostic imaging and reporting of cancer is of the outmost importance as we are the representatives for the rest of the medical care the patients will receive. Radiographers specialising in breast imaging are called mammographers, and they work in close proximity to breast cancer survivors, physicians and multi-disciplinary teams of the health care system.

Our Cancer Care Packages Campaign consists of products useful during radiation and chemotherapy, as well as our recently published Breast Cancer Survivorship Booklet consisting of easy-to-read information regarding the treatment process and how to communicate the results of cancer to loved ones. The NPO was started by a Radiography lecturer, Mrs Kathryn Malherbe, currently lecturing in the Faculty of Health Sciences, who hopes to encourage young students to promote breast cancer awareness in the community We also designed our own unique hope to reach these women during through outreaches that the NPO brooch and earrings in a joint our 2020 campaign. We are hosting holds across South Africa.

There were 350 cancer care packages distributed to over six regions across South Africa.

The NPO hosted 14 events during 2019.

Our Facebook (FB) Outreach reached over 75 000 women in 2019.

Over 4 500 women follow us on Facebook.

We also designed our own unique through outreaches that the NPO brooch and earrings in a joint venture with Zelmi's Boutique. The final year Radiography students will be promoting breast cancer awareness during the month of October this year. Through a student marketing drive, these earrings are sold to healthcare providers at their various clinical placements, with the funds being used for the Student Committee Board and future community engagement ventures.

Our vision for 2020

We initially started our NPO with a very small dream of reaching more women across South Africa. The response was far greater than we could ever have imagined, as we now reach over 75 000 women weekly on our Facebook page, with daily interactions on posts reaching over 15 000 women. There is still a great need for support in rural villages, but we lack the infrastructure and funding to reach these areas.

We have joined forces with passionate local doctors and volunteers and hope to reach these woman during our 2020 campaign. We are hosting a small outreach to 150 villagers in final year Radiography students the outskirts of Brits on 21 March will be promoting breast cancer 2020. Our dream would be to have a mobile breast support van where we can also provide woman with basic clinical needs regarding breast cancer.

We also hope to spread our care package campaign even further in 2020, growing from our initial 350 to 1000. Trough volunteer initiatives and community engagement, we will reach this!

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