Original Articles

Cancer Treatment in South Africa: A Narrative Literature Review

Published in: Journal of Psychology in Africa
Volume 22, issue 3, 2012 , pages: 459–466
DOI: 10.1080/14330237.2012.10820555
Author(s): Mariska VenterNorth-West University,, Chris VenterNorth-West University,, Karel BothaNorth-West University,


Due to the advances in cancer treatment, there are a growing number of cancer survivors. Finishing treatment rarely indicates the end of the cancer experience. As a result, cancer management has shifted from an acute care model to one that focuses on chronic care issues with a wellness component. This article explores cancer survivorship and management in the South African context, including (a) aspects of care/treatment in urban and rural areas and in the public and private health care systems; (b) patient needs and psychological care; (c) communication and health care, and (d) the influence of religious beliefs on the cancer experience and treatment. Survivorship is recognized as a distinct phase in the cancer care continuum during which some patients may experience physical and psychological symptoms requiring observation, follow-up, and medical interventions. It is thus critical that chronic care models delivering long-term medical and psychosocial services be developed and utilized. Accessible and equitable screening programmes and individualised cancer care for patients from all socio-economic groups extending beyond the physical management of their disease is therefore something to be strived for.

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