Source: AllAfrica 

Social Development Deputy Minister Hendrietta Bogopane-Zulu is on a drive to help raise awareness of cancer and women's health issues.

In collaboration with the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) and PinkDrive, the Deputy Minister will lead an outreach campaign at the Mahwelereng Stadium in Mokopane, Limpopo, on Saturday. The Department of Social Development said the outreach seeks to raise awareness and provide education and health-related services to communities, particularly on cancer and women's health issues.

"PinkDrive will be providing a basket of services on the day, including free education on women's health, free pap smear, free clinical self-breast examinations, free mammogram, and prostate-specific antigen (PSA) screening for men over the age of 40," the department said in a statement on Friday.

Cancer is a major public health concern in South Africa and is the second leading cause of death after HIV and Aids. Breast and cervical cancer are prevalent among women, with cervical cancer being the most common cancer among women in South Africa.

The 2019 National Cancer Registry (NCR), which falls under the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) at the National Health Laboratory Service (NHLS), estimates that one in every 27 women is at risk of being diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime.

"As alarming as this is, breast cancer treatment can be highly effective, achieving a survival probability of 40% in South Africa, particularly when it is detected early.

"The lack of awareness about cancer and women's health issues, coupled with inadequate access to healthcare, has resulted in many preventable deaths. 

Therefore, it is crucial to raise awareness about cancer and women's health to ensure women have the information and resources they need to take control of their health and prevent cancer-related deaths," the department said.The department plays a crucial role in this initiative by providing essential services to communities.

The department will offer substance abuse support through the Siyalulama Programme, which will provide on-the-spot admission for alcohol and drug rehabilitation. Other support measures in place are the registration and compliance of non-profit organizations (NPOs), including disability unit services. Additionally, the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) will be educating and registering illegible social grant beneficiaries including the education of the Child Support Grant top-up for orphans in the care of relatives.

The National Development Agency will also provide customer care services, information sharing on the establishment of cooperatives, and NPO support.

Other government departments that will be present on the day include the Departments of Home Affairs, Health, and Employment, and Labour.

"The Department of Social Development is committed to reducing the burden of disease on families, empowering women, and educating both male and female about breast cancer and other male-related cancers, spreading the message that the early detection of cancer saves lives," it said.

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