Project Phakamisa was initiated by AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals in 2010 with the intention of assisting the health care system to provide adequate diagnosis, treatment and management of breast cancer patients in the public sector.
Dr Liana Roodt, a Senior Medical Officer in General Surgery at Groote Schuur Hospital in Cape Town has been part of the project since its inception, and has subsequently continued to support the mission and vision of the project.
“In 2010 we were faced with some desperate dilemmas around limited resources in caring for our breast cancer patients in the public sector. In order to solve these problems, I have contacted numerous individuals, including Leon Spamer at AstraZeneca to see if we can join forces to beat these challenges,” she says.
To any breast cancer patient, information is power and when delivered in a caring and on-going manner, information can save lives. “Surgery, chemotherapy and radiation are three small weapons in our war against cancer and I believe that collective faith, a positive attitude and ever – increasing knowledge play an important role in fighting this disease,” Dr Roodt states.
Phakamisa has gone one step further to improve the lives of patients and have trained all Navigators to know how to care for people with disabilities who have been diagnosed with breast cancer, as they often have no support.
“I was approached by Phakamisa to do a talk about my fight with breast cancer as a quadriplegic.
They do amazing work by providing help to disabled women with breast cancer in rural areas, who have no support system and can’t get around to treatment centres,” says Tracey Swinson.
“I am fortunate enough to have had my family and friends for support, as well as being on a medical aid and my journey was still very hard. I can’t even begin to imagine how difficult it must be for people in a similar situation who can’t get around and don’t have access to treatment. Phakamisa is helping and providing a wonderful support system to breast cancer patients in the public health system,” adds Tracey.