South Africa: Breast Cancer Awareness Month - Black Women in Rural Areas Are Still On the Margins of Life-Saving Messages

analysis

Black women in rural areas struggle to receive and understand potentially life-saving messages about breast cancer. Accessibility remains an enormous challenge when it comes to both diagnosis and treatment.

It is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and questions around the reach of awareness are important to ponder.

Who is the awareness really for?

Much of the awareness is predominantly in English, while cancer centres and health facilities are mostly located in urban areas. The result? Women in rural areas struggle to receive and understand the potentially life-saving messages.

Accessibility remains a huge challenge when it comes to both diagnosis and treatment. Once diagnosed, black women must contend with many socioeconomic challenges limiting them from receiving treatment, even if it is free and provided by public healthcare institutions.

Women in the Northern Cape and parts of North West, for example, have to travel to Kimberley to access breast cancer treatment facilities. Kuruman has a satellite facility, but with limited resources and staff. Northern Cape is the largest province in South Africa when it comes to landmass, and most poor, rural, black women cannot afford the cost of travelling to Kimberley.

A 2019 study conducted by the Pietermaritzburg Economic Justice and Dignity Group...

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