For the first time ever, The Cancer Association of South Africa (CANSA) is coming to Grahamstown. CANSA will be opening up a monthly support and advice clinic on the 19th of August from 10 am until 2pm. Everyone is welcome.
According to Sister Lynn England, the opening will be more of an awareness programme. CANSA will be inviting representatives from all the clinics and hospitals in Grahamstown , as well as cancer survivors to offer them support.
“We’re a volunteer-driven organisation, so because we aren’t there all the time, we train the volunteers to be our hands and feet,“ said England. Anyone can be a volunteer once they have completed a two day training course called “CANSA training” offered by the organisation.
Dr Rudolph Marx will be allowing the clinic to be run out of one of the rooms at his practice Gainsford and Partners, located at 120 High Street.
Once the clinic is up and running, it will offer the same services as the clinic in East London, which offers prevention and early detection, counselling, support and care.
Early detection is done through screenings such as clinical breast exams and pap smears for women, and prostate exams for men. “We also hire out equipment to patients who are at home, like wheelchairs urinals, bedpans – all those sort of things that make like more comfortable for the patient and the caregiver,” said England.
Equipment aimed at improving the emotional wellbeing of cancer patients is also available. “Ladies that are having chemo always lose their hair and it’s quite emotional for them and so we’ve got some wigs here for them to borrow,” said England. “For the ladies who lose their breasts, we sell prosthesis.”
The lack of oncology centres in Grahamstown forces residents to seek treatment in Port Elizabeth. “In East London, we have a great partnership with our provincial hospital oncology unit and our private oncology unit, said England. “So we are going to send a letter to the private oncology and provincial oncology centre in PE to let them know we will be in Grahamstown for any patients.”
England said they are hoping to eventually bring a lymph clinic to Grahamstown, where they offer treatment for compromised lymph drainage, as well as counselling and palliative treatment for terminal patients.
CANSA is hoping to team up with local clinics to start outreach programmes.